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Suicide Soliloquy in Hamlet

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William Shakespeare is a famous English playwright. His play Hamlet centers around Hamlet's decision on how to seek revenge for his father’s death. However, Hamlet is unsure of what course of action he wants to take to exact his revenge. He discusses the idea of suicide as a possible option in his “To be or not to be” soliloquy. In this soliloquy, Shakespeare uses metaphors, rhetorical questions, and repetition to express Hamlet’s indecision regarding what he should do.
Shakespeare uses metaphors to express Hamlet’s view of life, death, and the afterlife. Hamlet first introduces the idea of suicide as a way to end the sufferings of life: “and by a sleep to say we end/ The heartache and the thousand natural shocks/ That flesh is heir to” (III. i. 69-71). Here, Shakespeare uses the word sleep to refer to death and the heartaches and shocks as the struggles of life. There is also a peace in sleeping that Hamlet wants to obtain in death. By using these metaphors, Shakespeare shows the simplicity of death compared to the hardships of life. This is especially evident with Hamlet because the revenge he is seeking is much more difficult than giving up and taking his own life out of grief. Hamlet then continues to express his fear in thoughts of suicide: “To die, to sleep---/ To sleep, perchance to dream. Ay, there’s the rub,/ For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,/ When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,/ Must give us pause. There’s the respect/ That makes calamity of so long life” (III. i. 72-77). The dream that Shakespeare is referring to is the afterlife, continuing with the metaphor of sleeping as dying. The question of the dreams that will come is Shakespeare’s way of expressing the unknown state of a soul after deat...

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...ll expresses Shakespeare’s idea that Hamlet is indecisive and cannot make a decision without putting much thought into the decision. Even with the thought, Hamlet only makes a decision because he is afraid of the dreams that he does not know may come.
In Hamlet, Hamlet wants to avenge his father’s death, but wonders whether the struggle of living and carrying through with his plans is worth the hardships, or if death is a better option. Shakespeare writes a soliloquy where Hamlet discusses with himself whether he should live or die. Shakespeare discusses the idea of suicide through metaphors, rhetorical questions, and repetition until Hamlet decides that he is too afraid of death to commit suicide.

Works Cited
Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark. Ed. Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine. New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 1992. Print.
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