Quotations…..by Shakespeare

If anyone is asked to quote a line of Shakespeare the one that first comes to mind for most people is from Shakespeare's play The tragedie of Hamlet, prince of Denmark, which begins with “To be or not to be: that is the question.” In the play Hamlet is pondering the differences between the pain of life and the fears of the afterlife. This soliloquy is probably the best-known line from all drama or literature and is a subtle and profound examination of what is more crudely expressed in the phrase out of the frying pan into the fire. In essence – “'life may be bad, but death could be worse.”

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:

Hamlet is perhaps
the most introspective character in all literature. From his contemplations of suicide in his soliloquy “To be or not to be” or his contemplation on the brief nature of life, Hamlet is constantly thinking about himself—and everyone else’s—place in the world. In this 3 hour play (Shakespeare’s longest) performed in London over 400 years ago, Hamlet utters the following about death:

All that lives must die,
Passing through nature to eternity.

….death – the undiscover’d country, from whose bourne
No traveler returns.

Good night, sweet prince. And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

In Act V, scene 1, Hamlet and Horatio enter a graveyard and Hamlet picks up a skull and asks the gravedigger whose it might be. The gravedigger tells him the skull belonged to Yorick, the King’s jester. Hamlet then makes a statement that today we often hear repeated incorrectly…“Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him well…..”

Actually Shakespeare wrote something slightly different…..Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! my gorge rims at it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft. Where be your gibes now? Your gambols? your songs? your flashes of merriment, that were wont to set the table on a roar? Not one now, to mock your own grinning? quite chap-fallen? Now get you to my lady's chamber, and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favour she must come; make her laugh at that.