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Reflective Journal

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    Hamlet's "To Be or Not To Be?" soliloquy is one of the most often-cited excerpts from this frequently studied play. Allusions to this jewel of Shakespeare's play can be found in literature and in popular culture.  You may well have heard many of Shakespeare's eloquent lines spoken in popular media.  Even the recent film "The King's Speech" referenced this soliloquy (see clip below).

    Take time to dive into the richness of this soliloquy.

    Use the "No Fear Shakespeare" version of Hamlet linked here and here to read the original text and read a modern translation of this soliloquy from Act 3, scene 1.  Start at line 57 and read through line 91.


    You can also use the video resource from Name of Action.  In the video Act 3 Scene 1 Education, everything from the start through 6:19 provides a summary of acts 1 and 2.  From 6:20 on, you'll find discussion of Hamlet's thought processes as he delivers this soliloquy. 


    Then, in 2-3 well-written paragraphs (roughly one-half page), respond in your Google journal to this prompt. 


    In your first well-developed paragraph, write a summary and the context of Hamlet's speech.  What is the central message or "point" of Hamlet's soliloquy in this scene? What is the dilemma that he considers, and what's the context for this rumination? How does his soliloquy reveal his motivations and thoughts as well as the turbulence in the play so far?

    In the second well-developed paragraph, address the universal ideas and questions raised in the passage. How does Hamlet depict death? What are the two choices he presents, and how do you respond to this (false?) dilemma? Why do you think people quote these lines so often? How do you respond to Hamlet's central question, the hardships of life versus the fear of death, the "undiscovered country"?