The first proper theater as we know it, was called the Theatre, built at Shoreditch, London in 1576 and the owner was James Burbage. James Burbage had obtained a 21 year lease with permission to build the first playhouse, aptly named ‘ The Theatre ‘. Before this time plays were performed in the courtyard of inns or inn-yards, or sometimes, in the houses of noblemen or in extreme circumstances on open ground. After the Theatre, further open air playhouses ( theaters ) opened in the London area, including the Rose Theatre (1587), and the Hope Theatre (1613).
The most famous Elizabethan playhouse ( theater ) was the Globe Theatre (1599) Page When Shakespeare started his career in the theatre , there wasn’t a proper institution for theatrical performances, and companies played mostly in the court yards of inns, in castles or mansions of great Lords that invited the artists to perform . Women were not allowed to act , being considered a rather vulgar profession for a woman, therefore, the female parts were impersonated by young boys, with wigs and make-up.
There were no special props or adequate scenery, so when an out-side scene was needed, stage-boys were pretending to be trees or walls , they carried a board with a yellow sun drawn to symbolize the sunrise or a silver moon to indicate that it was night. For the battle scenes , one or two horses were brought on stage (by a horse-keeper) and for the inner scenes , a table and some stools were enough .
Shakespeare’s play “Henry VIII” marked a premiere in point of costumes and ‘special effects’ but it lead to the tragic accident, as the straw back-stage caught fire during a war scene where cannons were suggested by means of flares. Nobody died but the theatre burnt to the ground (having been made of wood , with a stone foundation) . 2 The project to rebuild Shakespeare’s Globe was initiated by the American actor, director and producer Sam Wanamaker after his first visit to London in 1949.
Twenty-one years later he founded what was to become the Shakespeare Globe Trust, dedicated to the reconstruction of the theatre and the creation of an education center and permanent exhibition. After 23 years spent tirelessly fundraising, advancing research into the appearance of the original Globe and planning the reconstruction with the Trust’s architect Theo Crosby, Sam Wanamaker died in 1993, the site having been secured, the exhibition undercroft structurally complete and a few timber bays of the theatre in place.
Three and a half years later the theatre was completed. Shakespeare’s Sources of inspiration (predecessors and contemporary artists) The University Wits Sir Phillip Sidney (30 November 1554 – 17 October 1586) became one of the Elizabethan Age’s most prominent figures. Famous in his day in England as a poet, courtier and soldier, he remains known as the author of Astrophel and Stella (1581, pub. 1591),inspired by Penelope Devereaux, the future Lady Rich; Shakespeare also organised his sonnets in chronological order and rendering his real-life experience (The Dark Lady).
Christopher Marlowe- was an English dramatist, poet and translator of the Elizabethan era. The foremost Elizabethan tragedian next to William Shakespeare, he is known for his blank verse, his overreaching protagonists, and his own mysterious and untimely death(Marlowe is often alleged to have been a government spy). Marlowe’s first play performed on stage in London stage was Tamburlaine (1587) about the conqueror Timur, who rises from shepherd to warrior. It is among the first English plays in blank verse.
From this play, Shakespeare borrowed the archetype of the usurper, creating outstanding figures of usurpers in his own plays, only judging their guilt, and, consequently , their punishment, according to the weight of their deeds: -Richard III and Claudius( ‘Hamlet’) are evil from the very beginning , they do not repent , so , they are given a violent death – Henry IV repents on his death bed , giving wise advise to his son, the future Henry V , who is to become an ideal king, and he dies as a result of battle wound .
– Macbeth is more a victim of his wife’s ambition, proving weakness , and , thus, they both lose their mind. The Jew of Malta, about a Maltese Jew’s barbarous revenge against the city authorities, has a prologue delivered by a character representing Machiavelli. The play is known for its unsympathetic portrayal of nearly all its characters. From this play Shakespeare borrowed the shrewd Jew , but in his plot Shylock (his Jewish merchant) is not allowed to put his evil plans into practice.
A common misconception about Marlowe, based solely upon Doctor Faustus, is that he himself was a proponent of the ‘dark arts’. It is certainly true, when one considers the aforementioned play, that Marlowe had studied incantation rituals, but whether he practised them is another matter entirely. From this play , Shakespeare took the idea of controlling the forces of nature , getting the power by means of knowledge and applied it in “The Tempest”. Thomas Kyd-was an English dramatist, the author of The Spanish Tragedy, and one of the most important figures in the development of Elizabethan drama.
Shakespeare learned the structure of a tragedy , taking the idea of revenge and turning into a complex ,philosophical one, “Hamlet” . John Lyly- was an English writer, best known for his books Euphues, The Anatomy of Wit and Euphues and His England. Lyly’s linguistic style is known as Euphuism. Shakespeare mocked at this exceedingly metaphoric style in his “Love’s Labour’s Lost” . The Sonnets Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets arranged in almost a chronological order : the first 126 are dedicated to FRIENDSHIP , while from 127 – 154 they speak of a mysterious ‘Dark Lady’ and are dedicated to ‘PASSION’.
The two feelings are both called ‘ love’ in the sonnets but there is a clear-cut distinction made between ‘Friendship’ which is described as a lasting, solid feeling based on admiration , mutual interests and loyalty( ‘ the ever fixed mark/that looks on tempest and is never shaken’-sonnet 116), while passion is described as a transient, tormenting feeling based on physical attraction . The friend to whom the first 126 sonnets are dedicated is the Earl of Southampton, Shakespeare’s friend and patron of arts.
In his house , Shakespeare got acquainted with the Italian sonnet, music and painting , as well as the works of his contemporary dramatists and novelists Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Kyd and John Lyly. Rumour says it that the appearance of the Dark Lady spoiled their relationship due to jealousy and suspicion . The fashion of the time (and even nowadays, quite often) the love for the beloved woman was described in idealistic terms, often extensively metaphoric , comparing her with a Goddess or with the perfect elements of nature .
Shakespeare makes the portrait of the Dark Lady by opposition to the fashionable perfect image (‘My mistress’s eyes are nothing like the son/ Coral is far more red than her lips red’…- sonnet 130) trying to demonstrate that the beloved person does not have to be the embodiment of perfection so that your feelings should be true and unique. SONNET 18 ‘ Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate. Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimmed; And every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed: But thy eternal summer shall not fade Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st, Nor shall Death brag thou wand’rest in his shade When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st. So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee. ‘ Page 4 The opening line poses a simple rhetorical question which the rest of the sonnet answers.
The poet compares his friend to a summer’s day(as nature was seen as perfect) and finds him to be “more lovely and more temperate”, more balanced (the term ‘ temperate’ was chosen to be appropriate to both human and natural world) because summer is tainted by occasional winds and the eventual change of season. While summer must always come to an end, the poet’s feelings for his friend are eternal. Moreover, his art may even make their friendship last beyond death ( the metaphor in “thy eternal summer shall not fade,” stands for the everlasting youth and beauty of his friend in his heart).
The poet’s love is so powerful that even death is unable to curtail it. (‘ Nor shall Death brag thou wonders in his shade / When in eternal lines to time thou growst’)The poet’s feelings live on for future generations to admire through the power of the written word – through the sonnet itself. The final couplet explains that the beloved’s “eternal summer” will continue as long as there are people alive to read this sonnet: So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun; Coral is far more red than her lips’ red; If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun; If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head. I have seen roses damask’d, red and white, But no such roses see I in her cheeks; And in some perfumes is there more delight Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks. I love to hear her speak, yet well I know That music hath a far more pleasing sound; I grant I never saw a goddess go; My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground.
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare As any she belied with false compare. Shakespeare makes the portrait of the Dark Lady by opposition to the fashionable perfect image (‘My mistress’s eyes are nothing like the son/ Coral is far more red than her lips red’…- sonnet 130) trying to demonstrate that the beloved person does not have to be the embodiment of perfection so that your feelings should be true and unique. Page 5 Sonnet 116 Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments.
Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove: O no! it is an ever-fixed mark That looks on tempests and is never shaken; It is the star to every wandering bark, Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken. Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks Within his bending sickle’s compass come: Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, But bears it out even to the edge of doom. If this be error and upon me proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved. Along with Sonnets 18 (“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
“) and 130 (“My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun”), Sonnet 116 is one of the most famous poems in the entire sequence. The definition of love that it provides is among the most often quoted and anthologized in the poetic canon. Essentially, this sonnet presents the extreme ideal of friendship : it never changes, it never fades, it outlasts death and admits no flaw. What is more, it insists that this ideal is the only love that can be called “true”–if love is mortal, changing, or impermanent, the speaker writes, then no man ever loved.
The basic division of this poem’s argument into the various parts of the sonnet form is extremely simple: the first quatrain says what love is not (changeable), the second quatrain says what it is (a fixed guiding star unshaken by tempests), the third quatrain says more specifically what it is not (“time’s fool”–that is, subject to change in the passage of time), and the couplet announces the speaker’s certainty. What gives this poem its rhetorical and emotional power is not its complexity; rather, it is the force of its linguistic and emotional conviction.
Sonnet 91 Some glory in their birth, some in their skill, Some in their wealth, some in their body’s force, Some in their garments, though new-fangled ill, Some in their hawks and hounds, some in their horse; And every humor hath his adjunct pleasure, Wherein it finds a joy above the rest. But these particulars are not my measure; All these I better in one general best. Thy love is better than high birth to me, Richer than wealth, prouder than garments’ cost, Of more delight than hawks or horses be;
All this away, and me most wretched make. Page And having thee, of all men’s pride I boast; Wretched in this alone, that thou mayst take 6 Modern interpretation Some people are proud of the social status they’ve inherited; some people of their abilities; some of their wealth; some of how strong they are; some of their clothes, though the clothes are trendy and weird; some are proud of their hawks and hounds; some of their horses; and every individual temperament has its particular pleasure, something the person enjoys above everything else.
But I don’t measure happiness by any of these things. There’s something else that’s better than them all. To me, your love is better than high social status, more valuable than wealth, more worth being proud of than expensive clothes, and more enjoyable than hawks or horses. And having you, I have something better than what other men are proud of—except I’m wretched in this one respect: You can take all this away from me and make me completely wretched.
The Historical Plays Shakespeare’s historical plays form a chapter apart , though almost all of them belong to the first period of his dramatic creation (Henry VI, Richard III, Richard II, King John, Henry IV , Henry V and Henry VIII) Shakespeare considered monarchy as the ideal ruling system and makes a clear-cut distinction between lawful and unlawful successions to the throne; on his death bed, Henry IV says to his son : ‘…. God knows, my son, By what by-paths and indirect crook’d ways I met this crown; and I myself know well How troublesome it sat upon my head.
To thee it shall descend with bitter quiet, Better opinion, better confirmation. ’ In ‘Henry V’ the authority of the king is shown as further consolidated , the monarch being presented as an ideal ruler. In the chronicle plays , Shakespeare expresses his great love for his country (‘A precious stone set in the silver sea’…/ This throne of Mars/ This England…’- Richard II)at a time when England was endeavouring to consolidate its national unity and its position of a great power. Page 7 Julius Caesar BRUTUS Be patient till the last.
Romans, countrymen, and lovers! hear me for my cause, and be silent, that you may hear: believe me for mine honour, and have respect to mine honour, that you may believe: censure me in your wisdom, and awake your senses, that you may the better judge. If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of Caesar’s, to him I say, that Brutus’ love to Caesar was no less than his. If then that friend demand why Brutus rose against Caesar, this is my answer:-Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more.
Had you rather Caesar were living and die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead, to live all free men? As Caesar loved me, I weep for him; as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was valiant, I honour him: but, as he was ambitious, I slew him. There is tears for his love; joy for his fortune; honour for his valour; and death for his ambition. Who is here so base that would be a bondman? If any, speak; for him have I offended. Who is here so rude that would not be a Roman? If any, speak; for him have I offended. Who is here so vile that will not love his country?
If any, speak; for him have I offended. I pause for a reply. [….. ] Enter ANTONY and others, with CAESAR’s body […] First Citizen This Caesar was a tyrant. Third Citizen Nay, that’s certain: We are blest that Rome is rid of him. Second Citizen Peace! let us hear what Antony can say. Page 8 ANTONY You gentle Romans,-Citizens Peace, ho! let us hear him. ANTONY Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones; So let it be with Caesar.
The noble Brutus Hath told you Caesar was ambitious: If it were so, it was a grievous fault, And grievously hath Caesar answer’d it. Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest-For Brutus is an honourable man; So are they all, all honourable men-Come I to speak in Caesar’s funeral. He was my friend, faithful and just to me: But Brutus says he was ambitious; And Brutus is an honourable man. You all did see that on the Lupercal I thrice presented him a kingly crown, Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition? Yet Brutus says he was ambitious; And, sure, he is an honourable man.
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke, But here I am to speak what I do know. You all did love him once, not without cause: What cause withholds you then, to mourn for him? O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts, And men have lost their reason. Bear with me; My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar, And I must pause till it come back to me. First Citizen Methinks there is much reason in his sayings. Second Citizen If thou consider rightly of the matter, Caesar has had great wrong. Third Citizen Page 9 Has he, masters?
I fear there will a worse come in his place. Fourth Citizen Mark’d ye his words? He would not take the crown; Therefore ’tis certain he was not ambitious. First Citizen If it be found so, some will dear abide it. Second Citizen Poor soul! his eyes are red as fire with weeping. ANTONY O masters, if I were disposed to stir Your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage, I should do Brutus wrong, and Cassius wrong, Who, you all know, are honourable men: I will not do them wrong; I rather choose To wrong the dead, to wrong myself and you, Than I will wrong such honourable men.
But here’s a parchment with the seal of Caesar; I found it in his closet, ’tis his will: Let but the commons hear this testament-Which, pardon me, I do not mean to read-And they would go and kiss dead Caesar’s wounds And dip their napkins in his sacred blood, All We’ll hear the will: read it, Mark Antony. The will, the will! we will hear Caesar’s will. ANTONY Have patience, gentle friends, I must not read it; It is not meet you know how Caesar loved you.
You are not wood, you are not stones, but men; And, being men, bearing the will of Caesar, It will inflame you, it will make you mad: ‘Tis good you know not that you are his heirs; For, if you should, O, what would come of it! Fourth Citizen Read the will; we’ll hear it, Antony; You shall read us the will, Caesar’s will. ANTONY Will you be patient? will you stay awhile? I have o’ershot myself to tell you of it: I fear I wrong the honourable men Whose daggers have stabb’d Caesar; I do fear it. Fourth Citizen They were traitors: honourable men! Second Citizen They were villains, murderers: the will!
read the will. ’ Page 10 “ Julius Caesar” is usually ranked as a historical play but this is just a background for profound debates on friendship, honour ,and guilt. The real tragic hero of the play is not Julius Caesar who is betrayed and murdered but Brutus , a noble character who performed a fatal guilt( misjudgement and mistrust)for which he had to pay with his life . He is not punished by Moiras ( as it happens in the Greek tragedies )but takes his own life when realising his mistake. Even if Brutus is a professional orator, Mark Antony is a better master of wordsand of human weaknesses.
Shakespeare practices his tremendous oratoric skills in the monologues of both Brutus and Antony. While Brutus uses merely oratoric devices and keeps a certain imposing distance between himself and his audience ( “ Who is here so rude that would not be a Roman ? / If any, speak, for him have I offended “ )Mark Antony gets closer to his audience ( even though rejected at first ) pretending he was one of them ( “ Friends, Romans ,countryman, lend me your ears! ”). The frequency of oratorical devices is very poor as he knows well these means are not common for simple people.
He makes use of proverbs to appeal to their wisdom and sensitivity : “The evil that men do lives after them ; The good is often interred with their bones…” The grammatical devices of the English language seem to be more appropriate for his audience , as he knows their linguistic instinct will enable them to decode his message conveyed in fewer words but with the same hidden , subtle charge of meaning. Shakespeare selectively uses different types of structures ( like archaic vs. modern subjunctive ) when used by different representatives of various social strata.
For showing DOUBT , the citizens use the old form of subjunctive (“ If it be found so …”) while Antony , an educated man , uses the modern subjunctive( “If it were so…”). After getting their attention and benevolence by using friendly words and proverbs as indirect and gentle forms of reproach, Antony indirectly spread doubt ( by using a subjunctive ) upon the accusations brought by Brutus to Caesar (“ If it were so…”) . He pretends to have been granted permission to speak but from now on he permanently counterbalances his words with those of Brutus, always preceded by a disjunctive conjunction (but, yet) “But Brutus says he was ambitious ….
Yet, Brutus says he was ambitious …. ” which suggest opposition. His arguments are most of the times accompanied by emphatic DO used to stress upon the reality of his own words: “ You all DID see how on the Lupercal I I thrice presented him the kingly crown And he DID thrice refuse: was this ambition? ” or : “But here I am to speak what I DO know . You all DID love him once, not without cause : What cause withholds you then to mourn for him?
” His reproaches to them are always indirectly addressed either as proverbs or as hidden hints towards their possible misjudgment or even as rhetoric questions addressed to some abstract personifications: “Oh, Judgment, though are fled to brutish beasts And man have lost their reason . ” But he immediately draws their attention towards his own suffering : “ Bear with me … My heart is in the coffin, there, with Caesar, And I must pause till it come back to me…” which allows them time to internalise his hints and draw the conclusions he had wanted them to come to.
Even with the mob , Shakespeare creates different types of people as they really are around us : more or less intelligent , with a stronger or weaker personality, liable or stubborn. The first citizen represents the voice of popular wisdom : “ Methinks there is much reason in his sayings ……………………………………………….. I fear it will a worse come in his place…” The second citizen is more educated then the others . His phrases a re molding after Antony’s even though he cannot reach his eloquence ; however he can have his own opinion :
“ If thou consider rightly to the matter Page 11 Caesar has had great wrong…. ” The third citizen does not have an opinion of his own but gladly borrows the others’ “ Has he masters ? ” The fourth citizen is a practical and direct person : “Mark’d ye his words? He would not take the crown; Therefore ‘tis certain he was not ambitious. “ ……………………………………………… You shall read us the will , Caesar’s will” Modal verbs are themselves masterly used to suggest more message than they seem. For instance , after mentioning the will of Caesar , Antony pretends not to intent to read it .
He wanted to give them the impression that the conspirators forbid him to but he does not say it directly. He uses instead the model “ must not” which obviously will be decoded as interdiction : “ Have patience gentle friends, I MUST NOT read it. “ He is so sly that he always pretends he does not want to do something when in fact this is exactly what he does, informing them about their being Caesar’s heirs, insinuating their state of mind ( “ You are not wood, you are not stones ,but men, / And being men, hearing Caesar’s will/ It will inflame you , it will make you mad.
” or “ For if you should, oh, what would come of it…”) . And the results are soon to come: “ They were traitors, honourable men They were villains, murderers: the will! ” However, when he finds Brutus’ body on the battlefield, Antony weeps for his friend, praising his real virtues and showing he understood from the start Brutus’ motivation in joining the plot. ‘This was the noblest Romans of them all’[… ] He , only , in a general honest thought And common good to all, made one of them His life was gentle , and the elements So mixed in him , that Nature might stand up And say to all the world : This was a man “.
The real gift of Shakespeare was the masterful use of language and the perfect knowledge of people and typologies . Everybody speaks according to the social strata they belong , their time and trade as well . This is what makes his characters so realistic and immortal. They personify and utter centuries old human passions, fears, sorrows, dreams, hopes, struggles and vices. They can always be real and this is what makes Shakespeare so special. Page 12 Richard III Richard III is an intense exploration of the psychology of evil, and that exploration is centered on Richard’s mind.
Critics sometimes compare Richard to the medieval character, Vice, who was a flat and one-sided embodiment of evil. However, especially in the later scenes of the play, Richard proves to be highly self-reflective and complicated— making his heinous acts all the more chilling. Perhaps more than in any other play by Shakespeare, the audience of Richard III experiences a complex, ambiguous, and highly changeable relationship with the main character. Richard is clearly a villain—he declares outright in his very first speech that he intends to stop at nothing to achieve his nefarious designs.
But despite his open allegiance to evil, he is such a charismatic and fascinating figure that, for much of the play, we are likely to sympathize with him, or at least to be impressed with him. In this way, our relationship with Richard mimics the other characters’ relationships with him, conveying a powerful sense of the force of his personality. Even characters such as Lady Anne, who have an explicit knowledge of his wickedness, allow themselves to be seduced by his brilliant wordplay, his skillful argumentation, and his relentless pursuit of his selfish desires.
Richard’s long, fascinating monologues, in which he outlines his plans and gleefully confesses all his evil thoughts, are central to the audience’s experience of Richard. Shakespeare uses these monologues brilliantly to control the audience’s impression of Richard, enabling this manipulative protagonist to work his charms on the audience. In Act I, scene i, for example, Richard dolefully claims that his malice toward others stems from the fact that he is unloved, and that he is unloved because of his physical deformity.
This claim, which casts the other characters of the play as villains for punishing Richard for his appearance, makes it easy to sympathize with Richard during the first scenes of the play. It quickly becomes apparent, however, that Richard simply uses his deformity as a tool to gain the sympathy of others—including us. Richard’s evil is a much more innate part of his character than simple bitterness about his ugly body. But he uses this speech to win our trust, and he repeats this ploy throughout his struggle to be crowned king. After he is crowned king and Richmond begins his uprising, Richard’s monologues end.
Once Richard stops exerting his charisma on the audience, his real nature becomes much more apparent, and by the end of the play he can be seen for the monster that he is. When Richard claims that his deformity is the cause of his wicked ways, he seems to be manipulating us for sympathy, just as he manipulates the other characters throughout the play. As a result, Richard III does not explore the cause of evil in the human mind so much as it explores its operation, depicting the workings of Richard’s mind and the methods he uses to manipulate, control, and injure others for his own gain.
Central to this aspect of the play is the idea that Richard’s victims are complicit in their own destruction. Just as Lady Anne allows herself to be seduced by Richard, even knowing that he will kill her, other characters allow themselves to be taken in by his charisma and overlook his dishonesty and violent behaviour. This tendency is echoed in Richard’s relationship with the audience for much of the play. Even though the audience is likely to be repulsed by Richard’s actions, his gleeful, brilliant, revealing monologues cause most viewers to like him and even hope that he will succeed despite his obvious malice.
Page 13 GLOUCESTER Now is the winter of our discontent Made glorious summer by this sun of York; And all the clouds that lour’d upon our house In the deep bosom of the ocean buried. Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths; Our bruised arms hung up for monuments; Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings, Our dreadful marches to delightful measures. Grim-visaged war hath smooth’d his wrinkled front; And now, instead of mounting barded steeds To fright the souls of fearful adversaries, He capers nimbly in a lady’s chamber To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.
But I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks, Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass; I, that am rudely stamp’d, and want love’s majesty To strut before a wanton ambling nymph; I, that am curtail’d of this fair proportion, Cheated of feature by dissembling nature, Deformed, unfinish’d, sent before my time Into this breathing world, scarce half made up, And that so lamely and unfashionable That dogs bark at me as I halt by them;
Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace, Have no delight to pass away the time, Unless to spy my shadow in the sun And descant on mine own deformity: And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover, To entertain these fair well-spoken days, I am determined to prove a villain And hate the idle pleasures of these days. Page 14 Hamlet HAMLET To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep; No more; and by a sleep to say we end The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation Devoutly to be wish’d.
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; For who would bear the whips and scorns of time, The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely, The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay.
The insolence of office and the spurns That patient merit of the unworthy takes, When he himself might his quietus make With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear, To grunt and sweat under a weary life, But that the dread of something after death, The undiscover’d country from whose bourn No traveller returns, puzzles the will And makes us rather bear those ills we have Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all; And thus the native hue of resolution Is sickled o’er with the pale cast of thought, And enterprises of great pith and moment With this regard their currents turn awry, And lose the name of action. ’ Page 15 […. ]POLONIUS:How does my good Lord Hamlet? HAMLET Well, God-a-mercy. LORD POLONIUS Do you know me, my lord? HAMLET Excellent well; you are a fishmonger. LORD POLONIUS Not I, my lord.
HAMLET Then I would you were so honest a man. LORD POLONIUS Honest, my lord! HAMLET Ay, sir; to be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man picked out of ten thousand. LORD POLONIUS That’s very true, my lord. HAMLET For if the sun breed maggots in a dead dog, being a god kissing carrion,–Have you a daughter?
LORD POLONIUS I have, my lord. HAMLET Let her not walk i’ the sun: conception is a blessing: but not as your daughter may conceive. Friend, look to ‘t. LORD POLONIUS [Aside] How say you by that? Still harping on my daughter: yet he knew me not at first; he said I was a fishmonger: he is far gone, far gone: and truly in my youth I suffered much extremity for love; very near this. I’ll speak to him again.
What do you read, my lord? HAMLET Words, words, words. LORD POLONIUS What is the matter, my lord? HAMLET Between who? Page 16 LORD POLONIUS I mean, the matter that you read, my lord. HAMLET Slanders, sir: for the satirical rogue says here.