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Word Count: 1,151
To be or not to be that is definitely the question The idea of suicide is an important theme in William Shakespeares Hamlet Hamlet says several times that he wishes to kill himself and Ophelias death has been interpreted as suicidal by many critics and indeed by one of her own gravediggers With particular attention to Hamlets two important statements about suicide the O that this too too sullied flesh would melt soliloquy in Act I and the To be or not to be soliloquy in Act III how does the play treat the idea of suicide morally and religiously Why does Hamlet believe that although capable of suicide most human beings choose to live despite the cruelty pain and injustice of the world Hamlets first soliloquy about suicide O that this too too sullied flesh would meltpage 15-16 lines 131-161 ushers in what will be a central idea in the play Hamlet wishes to kill himself but God has forbidden it the Almight has fixed his canon gainst self-slaughter the question of the moral validity of suicide in an unbearably painful world will haunt the rest of the play the question reaches the height of its urgency in the most famous line in all of English literature To be or not to be that is the question In Act III Hamlet decides that no one would choose to live under the conditions of the world if they were not afraid of what will happen to them after death Hamlet wants to sleep but he is afraid of his dreams This first soliloquy therefore puts Hamlet at odds with the precepts of religion if God did not have contrary wishes that made him fear hell Hamlet could seek the felicity of death Throughout the play we watch the gradual crumbling of the human realities on which Hamlets worldview have been based His mind is left with little or nothing to cling to
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