elaborate how different schools of thought during the Eastern Zhou period understood “governance.” “To Be or Not To Be” Soliloquy

1.     Formatting instructions (also used for all essays submitted in course):
A. Typed, double-spaced, using 12 font.
B. Use the Chicago Manual of Style for documentation (see guide from http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html).

2.     General expectations for essays
A.   Clear and explicit thesis statement (tells your readers WHAT the main point of the essay is)
B.    Explains reason for each major claim (WHY? HOW does that work?)
C.    Provide evidence to support major claims (examples, materials from course readings). Please be specific, like which chapter from the Analects.
D.   Do not summarize class notes
E.    Avoid slang, popular clichés, and sarcasm.
F.    Get right to the point and then back it up for serious academic work and primary source materials. Don’t waste space being artistic.

3.     Guide to success
After you finish a draft, read your essay over and ask yourself the following questions. Then edit your essay to address these issues before you submit it.
A.   Does the paper have a clear thesis?
B.    Have I explained the reasoning behind the main points in the essay? Can your readers understand why and how each major point could be valid?
C.    Can I find evidence in the readings to support the claims?
D.   Should I delete superfluous materials that might harm the claims?

4.     Topics and source materials
Please answer theQuestion Sectionbelowin a constructed essay of approximately 1200 words. Please use primary source materials to support your thesis. All supporting source materials should be based on class materials (those are included the “reading” zip files). No external source materials are allowed.Essays which are not substantially based on our course readings are unlikely to earn a passing grade.

Question Section
Please elaborate how different schools of thought during the Eastern Zhou period understood “governance.”

“To Be or Not To Be” Soliloquy

Order Description

• Act III of Hamlet (See the attached and other Shakespeare online source)
There are a number of ways to access Hamlet.
1. Chances are that you can pick up a cheap paper copy of the play almost anywhere. If you do so or have one that you might have read previously, please make sure that the paper edition is the Folger Library Shakespeare version.
2. If you want to read Hamlet online, I would recommend the version at Shakespeare’s Words Web site because it gives both line numbers and definitions of words not commonly used in modern English.
You can also access Hamlet for free online at any one of the sites listed below:
3. The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (mit.edu)
4. The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (opensourceshakespeare.org)
Regardless of the version you choose, I strongly recommend that you use a version with line numbers. These will be very helpful when citing your quotations in your papers. Although your papers for these next three weeks do not require citing outside sources, you will be asked to cite the quotations that you use from Hamlet. The following web sites will assist you in doing so:
View the following:
• Hamlet’s Soliloquies [Video File] [06 min 55 sec]
• Hamlet’s Journey [Video File] [06 min 47 sec]
• Olivier’s Hamlet Film (1948): To Be or Not To Be Soliloquy [Video File] [04 min 35 sec]
• David Tennant’s version of Hamlet in the following BBC YouTube clip (2009) [Video File] [03 min 02 sec]
• Kenneth Branagh’s version of Hamlet in his movie [Video file] [03 min 05 sec]

Hamlet’s Soliloquy – To be, or not to be

Hamlet’s “To be, or not to be” soliloquy is arguably the most famous soliloquy in the history of the theatre. Even today, 400 years after it was written, most people are vaguely familiar with the soliloquy even though they may not know the play. What gives these 34 lines such universal appeal and recognition? What about Hamlet’s introspection has prompted scholars and theatregoers alike to ask questions about their own existence over the centuries?

In this soliloquy, Shakespeare strikes a chord with a fundamental human concern: the validity and worthiness of life. Would it not be easier for us to simply enter a never-ending sleep when we find ourselves facing the daunting problems of life than to “suffer / the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”? However, it is perhaps because we do not know what this endless sleep entails that humans usually opt against suicide. “For in that sleep of death what dreams may come / When we have shuffled off this mortal coil / Must give us pause.” Shakespeare seems to understand this dilemma through his character Hamlet, and thus the phrase “To be, or not to be” has been immortalized; indeed, it has pervaded our culture to such a remarkable extent that it has been referenced countless times in movies, television, and the media. Popular movies such as Billy Madison quote the famous phrase, and www.tobeornottobe.com serves as an online archive of Shakespeare’s works. Today, a Shakespeare stereotype is held up by the bulk of society, where they see him as the god of drama, infallible and fundamentally superior to modern playwrights. However, this attitude is not new. Even centuries ago, the “holiness” of Shakespeare’s work inspired and awed audiences. In a letter dated October 1, 1775, Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, commenting on David Garrick’s production of Hamlet (1742-1776) to his friend Heinrich Christian Boie, likens the “To be, or not to be” soliloquy to the Lord’s Prayer. He says that the soliloquy “does not naturally make the same impression on the auditor” as Hamlet’s other soliloquies do,

But it produces an infinitely greater effect than could be expected of an argument on suicide and death in tragedy; and this is because a large part of the audience not only knows it by heart as well as they do the Lord’s Prayer, but listens to it, so to speak, as if it were a Lord’s Prayer, not indeed with the profound reflections which accompany our sacred prayer, but with a sense of solemnity and awe, of which some one who does not know England can have no conception. In this island Shakespeare is not only famous, but holy; his moral maxims are heard everywhere; I myself heard them quoted in Parliament on 7 February, a day of importance. In this way his name is entwined with most solemn thoughts; people sing of him and from his works, and thus a large number of English children know him before they have learnt their A.B.C. and creed. (Tardiff 19)

Scholarly Criticism

Despite the extreme popularity of Hamlet’s famous soliloquy, there are some scholars who have criticized its imperfections, and even have been so bold as to say that Hamlet speaks out of character when he delivers the famous words. Tobias Smollett, a major eighteenth-century English novelist, and his contemporary Charles Gildon see the soliloquy as unnecessary in that it does not further the dramatic action of the play. Tobias Smollett writes in an essay dated 1756:

…there are an hundred characters in [Shakespeare’s] plays that (if we may be allowed the expression) speak out of character. … The famous soliloquy of Hamlet is introduced by the head and shoulders. He had some reason to revenge his father’s death upon his uncle, but he had none to take away his own life. Nor does it appear from any other part of the play that he had any such intention. On the contrary, when he had a fair opportunity of being put to death in England he very wisely retorted the villainy of his conductors on their own heads. (Vickers 266-7)

In 1721, Charles Gildon bluntly writes, “That famous soliloquy which has been so much cry’d up in Hamlet has no more to do there than a description of the grove and altar of Diana, mention’d by Horace” (Vickers 369). Indeed, many think the soliloquy is out of place, and some assert that he is not contemplating suicide at all. In 1765, Samuel Johnson explains the thought, or inner monologue, of Hamlet as he delivers the soliloquy in a manner that eliminates any struggle with thoughts of suicide:

Before I can form any rational scheme of action under this pressure of distress, it is necessary to decide whether, after our present state, we are to be or not to be. That is the question which, as it shall be answered, will determine whether ’tis nobler and more suitable to the dignity of reason to suffer the outrages of fortune patiently, or to take arms against them, and by opposing end them, though perhaps with the loss of life. If to die were to sleep, no more, and by a sleep to end the miseries of our nature, such a sleep were devoutly to be wished; but if to sleep in death be to dream, to retain our powers of sensibility, we must pause to consider in that sleep of death what dreams may come. (Harris 83)

A Change in Place over Time

Whether or not you agree that the soliloquy is out of place within the play or that Hamlet speaks out of character, it is interesting to note that the placement of the soliloquy within the play has changed over time. At one point in history, Hamlet’s famous soliloquy was placed earlier in the play than it is now. A year later it was changed to occur later, after Hamlet devises the play within the play. H.B. Charlton, in an essay dated 1942, explains the importance of whether the soliloquy lies before or after Hamlet devises his incriminating play:

[If] the play within the play was devised by Hamlet to give him a really necessary confirmation of the ghost’s evidence, why is this the moment he chooses to utter his profoundest expression of despair, ‘To be, or not to be, that is the question’? For, if his difficulty is what he says it is, this surely is the moment when the strings are all in his own hands. He has by chance found an occasion for an appropriate play, and, as the king’s ready acceptance of the invitation to attend shows, he can be morally certain that the test will take place; and so, if one supposes him to need confirmation, within a trice he will really know. Yet this very situation finds him in the depths of despair. Can he really have needed the play within the play? The point is of some importance, because in the 1603 Quarto of Hamlet, this ‘To be, or not to be’ speech occurs before Hamlet has devised the incriminating play. In the 1604 and later versions, the speech comes where we now read it. I know no more convincing argument that the 1604 Quarto is a masterdramatist’s revision of his own first draft of a play. (Harris 166)

Manic Hamlet

Manic: affected by violent madness . When one is affected by mania it becomes the dictator of his or her actions . This holds true in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet . In the play, Hamlet is depressed to the point of mania. His entire existence is engulfed in his melancholia. Hamlet’s words, thoughts, interactions and most tangibly his actions make his heavy-heartedness an undeniable reality. The degree of Hamlet ‘s depression is set by his ennui and his melancholy itself is revealed through his tenacity. Throughout the play Hamlet’s actions are plagued by his overbearing depression. This depression in combination with Hamlet’s mania is what makes his a bipolar disorder sufferer.

Psychologically, mania is described as a mood disorder characterized by euphoric states ,extreme physical activity ,excessive talkativeness, distractedness, and sometimes grandiosity. During manic periods a person becomes “high” extremely active , excessively talkative, and easily distracted. During these periods the affected person’s self esteem is also often greatly inflated. These people often become aggressive and hostile to others as their self confidence becomes more and more inflated and exaggerated. In extreme cases (like Hamlet’s) the manic person may become consistently wild or violent until he or she reaches the point of exhaustion. Manic depressives often function on little or no sleep during their episodes.

At the opening of the play Hamlet is portrayed as a stable individual . He expresses disappointment in his mother for her seeming disregard for his father’s death. His feelings are justified and his actions are rational at this point, he describes himself as being genuine. As this scene progresses it is revealed that Hamlet views himself as being weak: “My father’s brother, but no more like my father/ than I to Hercules” (1.2.153) The doubts that Hamlet has concerning his heroism become particularly evident in his actions as the story progresses. These doubts are a major hindrance to his thoughts of revenge.

Hamlet wishes to avenge the murder of his father and rectify this great injustice. The conflict between his desire to seek revenge and his own thoughts of incompetence is the cause of his initial unrest. “Haste me to know’t , that I , with wings as swift / As meditation or thoughts of love , / may sweep to my revenge (1.5.29-31). Here Hamlet pleads to the Ghost of King Hamlet to reveal the name of his murderer. This request is emotional and impulsive at this point. Hamlet does not realize exactly what this revenge may entail. This revenge seems simple to Hamlet only because he doesn’t know who the killer is yet, his connection to the killer will be a great convolution to the situation. Toward the end of act one King Hamlet’s ghost tells Hamlet who his murderer is. This news is the catalyst that embarks Hamlet upon his depression.” The time is out of joint: O cursed spite, / The ever I was born to set it right !”(1.5.188-189). These two lines particularly solidify Hamlet’s dilemma. Here he knows what the task is actually calling him to do – kill his uncle.

The second act includes two soliloquies; it is in these that the depth of Hamlet’s depression is revealed .The soliloquy opens with a reference to disease and decay : “Oh that this sullied flesh would melt / Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew,” (1.2.129-130) Here Hamlet is speaking of his own flesh and makes his first reference to suicide. He expresses great dissatisfaction with the state of the world. “How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable / Seem to me all uses of the world !” (1.2.133-134). These feelings of uselessness and depression are greatly due to his disapproval of and disgust with his mother’s recent action.

Since Hamlet displays many manic depressive characteristics, the play seems to be made up of hills and valleys. Oscar James Campbell describes Hamlet as a series of meditative pauses followed by bursts of action ? this is consistent with manic depressive behavior. Hamlet’s depressed phase is marked by brooding inaction and his manic phase is characterized by abrupt lunges toward action. During the entire play, Hamlet is in a state of paralyzing perplexity; from scene to scene he contemplates deeply over which course of action he should adopt.

Hamlet is overwhelmed, he makes this abundantly clear in act two:” O God , I could be bounded in a nut shell and count myself a king of infinite space if it were not that I have bad dreams.” (2.ii.254-256) Here Hamlet expresses a desire to crawl away and hide – he wants to escape this chaos that has become his life. When it seems that stress begins to overtake him, Hamlet begins to lash out at the other characters. Sometimes Hamlet throws his tantrums in the solitude of a room and at other times he lashes out at people directly. One instance of this is occurred when Hamlet is being spied on by Claudius and Polonius while speaking to his love, Ophelia. In his great unrest Hamlet mocks Ophelia’s sexual discretions by exclaiming “Get thee to a nunnery!” (3.iii.121) In Elizabethan times a nunnery was a whorehouse. In this scene Hamlet treats Ophelia very aggressively here he slams her around. Also during the same dialogue Hamlet expresses his lack of feeling for Ophelia. Hamlet says that he does not now and never has loved Ophelia. This is a major component in refuting the argument that his instability is due to love sickness over Ophelia .In the later part of the play when Hamlet is not manic he expresses a mammoth deal of love for Ophelia . It is only during periods of serenity that Hamlet’s true feelings are revealed. His manic episodes serve to balance out his usual inactivity and apathy. Hamlet never seemed to express much feeling to Ophelia and when he finally did say something he insults her and showers her with the rage he feels toward the state of his world. The actions that Hamlet performs mirror the patterns of a manic depressive.

Bipolar Disorder is a mood disorder in which both mania and depression are present. In bipolar disorder periods of mania and depression alternate (each lasting between a few days and a few months), sometimes with normal mood interventions. (Gershon, 1990) Hamlet expresses these characteristics exactly . From day to day Hamlet goes from seemingly rational or “normal” to irrational, tenacious and impulsive. His patterns of action clearly prove that he is a bipolar disease sufferer.

2.
TO BE, OR NOT TO BE SOLILOQUY
Hamlet’s To be, or not to be soliloquy is explores the notions of existence through a philosophical evaluation of bearing through ‘the whips and scorns of time’ and an examination of the ‘sleep of death’ after one finishes their time on earth. The use of pronouns ‘we’, ‘us’ and ‘who’ insinuate that this debate as an impersonal reflection rather than an emotionally driven deliberation to end his life. The themes and notions of death, religion and fate are explored through this soliloquy in the context of the futility and hardships of life. Death, the underlying theme of this soliloquy, is considered over existence in the circumstance that death is a dreamless sleep, a release from all the world’s misery. However Hamlet’s religious beliefs impact his reasoning and thus as a Christian, he muses over humanity’s eternal soul and sleep and ‘what dreams may come’ when an individual dies. Hamlet comes to acknowledges that death’s sleep is unknown and compares it to an ‘undiscover’d country’ from which ‘No traveller returns’. Hamlet further reasons that humanity’s fear of the unknown is caused by excessive thought and so stalls them from taking action and bearing through what is known resulting in our ‘conscience does make cowards of us all’. Fate, as explored in this soliloquy, is proposed to be something that is flung towards you throughout your life ‘the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’ and not something that is chosen. Christian canon forbids self slaughter and so Hamlet considers that the fear of damnation and the doubt of entering the unknown prevent individuals from taking their fate into their own hands. However the soliloquy is also somewhat ambiguous in terms of the method of death. Though the underlying themes of existence, death, religion and fate are retained, the interpretation of taking ‘arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them’ can be seen as taking action against Claudius as filial obligations require, but in doing so, effectively condemns Hamlet to his death for treason. Furthermore, the act of murder in vengeance of his father, although justifiable in its historical context, will damn Hamlet’s soul to hell. In line with taking ones fate in their own hands, this interpretation examines an individual’s choice to be able to determine the pathway or catalyst of their death.

Notes
After completing This Module you are grasping the language of Hamlet and are already familiar with the play’s context. With the reading of Act 3, we continue our analysis of Shakespeare by focusing on his characters, especially as they are revealed to us through the tool of the soliloquy.
This module leads you through a discussion of the soliloquy. In addition to the text of Hamlet and the module notes, you will be asked to view several videos from the Folger Shakespeare Library and elsewhere. They are all linked to from this course and available within YouTube.
We are lucky that this act contains two very famous soliloquies, Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” (III, i, 56-90) and Claudius’s lines that begin with “O, my offence is rank” (III, iii, 36-72). Please pay particular attention to these segments when you read Act 3 as they cast light on the nature of these two very different, but equally important, characters in the play.
WORDLE is created by Jonathan Feinberg

Topic: “To Be or Not To Be” Soliloquy.

Read the following:
•    Act III of Hamlet (See the attached and other Shakespeare online source)
There are a number of ways to access Hamlet.
1.    Chances are that you can pick up a cheap paper copy of the play almost anywhere. If you do so or have one that you might have read previously, please make sure that the paper edition is the Folger Library Shakespeare version.
2.    If you want to read Hamlet online, I would recommend the version at Shakespeare’s Words Web site because it gives both line numbers and definitions of words not commonly used in modern English.
You can also access Hamlet for free online at any one of the sites listed below:
3.    The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (mit.edu)
4.    The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (opensourceshakespeare.org)
Regardless of the version you choose, I strongly recommend that you use a version with line numbers. These will be very helpful when citing your quotations in your papers. Although your papers for these next three weeks do not require citing outside sources, you will be asked to cite the quotations that you use from Hamlet. The following web sites will assist you in doing so:
View the following:
•    Hamlet’s Soliloquies [Video File] [06 min 55 sec]
•    Hamlet’s Journey [Video File] [06 min 47 sec]
•    Olivier’s Hamlet Film (1948): To Be or Not To Be Soliloquy [Video File] [04 min 35 sec]
•    David Tennant’s version of Hamlet in the following BBC YouTube clip (2009) [Video File] [03 min 02 sec]
•    Kenneth Branagh’s version of Hamlet in his movie [Video file] [03 min 05 sec]
Submit the following: topic
“To Be or Not To Be” soliloquy.

In many ways, Act III forms a turning point in the play; most major characters enter the act with questions about the natures of their fellows. Their decisions in these matters will direct their actions for the duration of the play. Here are two of the characters and the questions foremost in their minds.
Hamlet: At the end of Act II, Hamlet decided to use actors and a play to determine whether or not Claudius is guilty of murdering his father. Having devised his trap, Hamlet states that “the play’s the thing / wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king” (II.ii.581-582). Hamlet’s plan is to direct the actors in a play that closely mirrors the circumstances of King Hamlet’s death and then observe Claudius’ reaction for evidence of his guilt.
It is notable that the play differs from the account given by the ghost. According to the ghost, Claudius poured poison into the ear of King Hamlet as he slept in the garden. However, in the play, the King’s nephew pours poison into his ear, not the King’s brother. Upon witnessing this incident, Claudius bolts from his seat and halts the play. Watching this reaction, Hamlet immediately decides that Claudius is indeed guilty of the murder.
Unlike Hamlet, I’m sure that you can spot the problem.
Claudius has been uneasy about Hamlet, and with good reason, from the play’s beginning. He watches Hamlet closely and commissions Hamlet’s friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, to spy on him. In the play, all of Claudius’ suspicions about Hamlet are born out. He watches a king (possibly himself) being killed by his nephew (possibly Hamlet). It is entirely conceivable that Claudius’ reaction stems from fear for his own life, not guilt that he has taken the life of King Hamlet. As careful observers, we are well aware that Hamlet has nowhere near the proof that he thinks he does.
Claudius: As closely as Hamlet is observing Claudius, Claudius is watching Hamlet. Having asked Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to observe Hamlet, Claudius listens to their report at the beginning of Act III. They don’t have much information, so Claudius proceeds with his plan to watch as Ophelia confronts Hamlet, in an effort to determine whether his behavior is due to love or madness. In the end, Claudius decides that it is neither: “Love? His affections do not that way tend./ Nor what he spake, although it lacked form a little/ Was not like madness. There’s something in his soul/ O’er which his melancholy sits on brood,/ Will be some danger – which for to prevent,/ I have in quick determination/ Thus set down” (Act III, i, 163-170).
As opposed to Hamlet, Claudius nails it.
Hamlet is pretending to be mad. He told us as much. He also does intend Claudius harm. Claudius is able to see all of this and quickly arranges to protect himself by arranging for Hamlet’s assassination. Although morally suspect, Claudius again demonstrates his keen perception and political nature, which is thrown into relief by the backdrop of Hamlet’s quick leap to conclusions when viewing the play.
Through these two events, and the soliloquies embedded in them, Shakespeare executes a deft character study of those in power (Claudius) and those who would aspire to it (Hamlet). In the characters of Claudius and Hamlet, Shakespeare questions whether it is possible to make solid, moral decisions, especially when given little to no reliable data.
________________________________________
http://www.bardweb.net/plays/hamlet.html
So, we’re going to study soliloquies in this unit. This, of course, begs the question: what, exactly, is a soliloquy?
Students often use the words speech and soliloquy interchangeably, but they are actually quite different. Although both speeches and soliloquies are usually given to audiences, speeches are planned and written ahead of time. Although actors memorize soliloquies, the soliloquy should be delivered as if the character is articulating their thoughts as they occur.
As opposed to speeches, soliloquies have been referred to as “active events of the mind.” Rather than reporting something that has been thought out beforehand, the speaker of a soliloquy is discovering his or her thoughts in real time. Part of an actor’s challenge in performing Hamlet is to make this discovery seem fresh while speaking words that have not only been written beforehand but are well known to the audience.
The connection between the speaker of a soliloquy and the audience was very different in Shakespeare’s time than it is today. In the modern world, when we attend a Shakespearean play, we are sitting down and shrouded in darkness. We can see the actor but the actor cannot see us. However, when Hamlet was first presented, most likely at the Globe Theatre, the audience and the players were illuminated. They could see (and hear) each other perfectly. Shakespeare knew these conditions when he wrote the plays and used them to present soliloquies that would form a bond between the character and the audience.
In the Folger Shakespeare Library video Hamlet’s Soliloquies [Video File] [06 min 55 sec], director Joe Haj and actor Graham Hamilton advance the notion that the “audience [be used] as a sounding board.” Hamlet is not only thinking through his ideas out-loud, but perhaps even looking to the audience for a response. Imagine attending Hamlet as you would a basketball or football game – really, the conditions weren’t that different at the Globe Theatre – where would you boo? Where would you cheer? Where would you shout “defense” or “go get’em”?
When you are thinking about how you would react to Hamlet’s soliloquy, you might be stopped in your tracks by the unfamiliarity of a few key words or turns of phrase. Down below, I have written some of the words that have stumped previous learners:
•    rub
•    quietus
•    bodkin
•    fardels
Some of these are defined in the Shakespeare’s Words edition of the play. Others, as with anything else, you can find in a good glossary either on the Shakespeare’s Words site or elsewhere.
Please take advantage of these sites and others when you read and analyze Act III; the meanings of these words contribute substantially to the meaning of the speech.
________________________________________
The assessments for this module ask you to analyze Hamlet’s character using the events of Act III and knowledge of the soliloquy format. Unlike some of the other modules, we only have one discussion activity. In this activity, you are asked to share your thoughts, along with evidence from the play, as to whether Hamlet can be considered a “hero” or not. The short essay assignment involves and analysis of Hamlet’s “To Be or Not To Be” soliloquy.

After reading about the soliloquy in the module notes and discussing whether Hamlet’s actions can be considered as heroic, you are ready to analyze the “to be or not to be” soliloquy. For this assignment, you will be focusing on several performances of the soliloquy and how they bring out different aspects of Hamlet’s character. One of the beauties of Hamlet and one of the reasons why we’re reading it today is that it’s possible for the words to project slightly different meanings depending on how they are embodied by various actors
There are several key questions to address when performing a close analysis of Hamlet’s soliloquy. These questions, listed below, should be used to structure your essay.

This short essay should be between 500 or more words. You should draw examples from both the play and at least two of the soliloquy performances listed below. You can use the performances to illustrate how the text, when spoken by an actor, still conveys a certain meaning. Your decisions about the meaning of the text should be drawn from both your reading of it and viewing of the performances.
•    What is Hamlet asking himself?
•    What relationship does this question hold to his ongoing decision as to whether or not he should act on the ghost’s information?
•    Does Hamlet explicitly answer his question by the conclusion of the soliloquy? If so, what is this answer? Is there any answer given at all?

Please see these links to the performances:
•    Hamlet’s Soliloquies [Video File] [06 min 55 sec]
•    Hamlet’s Journey [Video File] [06 min 47 sec]
•    Olivier’s Hamlet Film (1948): To Be or Not To Be Soliloquy [Video File] [04 min 35 sec]
•    David Tennant’s version of Hamlet in the following BBC YouTube clip (2009) [Video File] [03 min 02 sec]
•    Kenneth Branagh’s version of Hamlet in his movie

And on a humorous note, here’s Arnold Schwarzenegger’s version as seen in Last Action Hero [Video File] [01 min 44 sec]

NOTE:

TO BE, OR NOT TO BE SOLILOQUY
Hamlet’s To be, or not to be soliloquy is explores the notions of existence through a philosophical evaluation of bearing through ‘the whips and scorns of time’ and an examination of the ‘sleep of death’ after one finishes their time on earth. The use of pronouns ‘we’, ‘us’ and ‘who’ insinuate that this debate as an impersonal reflection rather than an emotionally driven deliberation to end his life. The themes and notions of death, religion and fate are explored through this soliloquy in the context of the futility and hardships of life. Death, the underlying theme of this soliloquy, is considered over existence in the circumstance that death is a dreamless sleep, a release from all the world’s misery. However Hamlet’s religious beliefs impact his reasoning and thus as a Christian, he muses over humanity’s eternal soul and sleep and ‘what dreams may come’ when an individual dies. Hamlet comes to acknowledges that death’s sleep is unknown and compares it to an ‘undiscover’d country’ from which ‘No traveller returns’. Hamlet further reasons that humanity’s fear of the unknown is caused by excessive thought and so stalls them from taking action and bearing through what is known resulting in our ‘conscience does make cowards of us all’. Fate, as explored in this soliloquy, is proposed to be something that is flung towards you throughout your life ‘the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’ and not something that is chosen. Christian canon forbids self slaughter and so Hamlet considers that the fear of damnation and the doubt of entering the unknown prevent individuals from taking their fate into their own hands. However the soliloquy is also somewhat ambiguous in terms of the method of death. Though the underlying themes of existence, death, religion and fate are retained, the interpretation of taking ‘arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them’ can be seen as taking action against Claudius as filial obligations require, but in doing so, effectively condemns Hamlet to his death for treason. Furthermore, the act of murder in vengeance of his father, although justifiable in its historical context, will damn Hamlet’s soul to hell. In line with taking ones fate in their own hands, this interpretation examines an individual’s choice to be able to determine the pathway or catalyst of their death.
NOTES to READ

Act III, scene i
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page 1 of 2
Summary
Claudius and Gertrude discuss Hamlet’s behavior with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, who say they have been unable to learn the cause of his melancholy. They tell the king and queen about Hamlet’s enthusiasm for the players. Encouraged, Gertrude and Claudius agree that they will see the play that evening. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern leave, and Claudius orders Gertrude to leave as well, saying that he and Polonius intend to spy on Hamlet’s confrontation with Ophelia. Gertrude exits, and Polonius directs Ophelia to walk around the lobby. Polonius hears Hamlet coming, and he and the king hide.
Hamlet enters, speaking thoughtfully and agonizingly to himself about the question of whether to commit suicide to end the pain of experience: “To be, or not to be: that is the question” (III.i.58). He says that the miseries of life are such that no one would willingly bear them, except that they are afraid of “something after death” (III.i.80). Because we do not know what to expect in the afterlife, we would rather “bear those ills we have,” Hamlet says, “than fly to others that we know not of” (III.i.83–84). In mid-thought, Hamlet sees Ophelia approaching. Having received her orders from Polonius, she tells him that she wishes to return the tokens of love he has given her. Angrily, Hamlet denies having given her anything; he laments the dishonesty of beauty, and claims both to have loved Ophelia once and never to have loved her at all. Bitterly commenting on the wretchedness of humankind, he urges Ophelia to enter a nunnery rather than become a “breeder of sinners” (III.i.122–123). He criticizes women for making men behave like monsters and for contributing to the world’s dishonesty by painting their faces to appear more beautiful than they are. Working himself into a rage, Hamlet denounces Ophelia, women, and humankind in general, saying that he wishes to end all marriages. As he storms out, Ophelia mourns the “noble mind” that has now lapsed into apparent madness (III.i.149).
The king and Polonius emerge from behind the tapestry. Claudius says that Hamlet’s strange behavior has clearly not been caused by love for Ophelia and that his speech does not seem like the speech of insanity. He says that he fears that melancholy sits on something dangerous in Hamlet’s soul like a bird sits on her egg, and that he fears what will happen when it hatches. He declares that he will send Hamlet to England, in the hope that a change of scenery might help him get over his troubles. Polonius agrees that this is a good idea, but he still believes that Hamlet’s agitation comes from loving Ophelia. He asks Claudius to send Hamlet to Gertrude’s chamber after the play, where Polonius can hide again and watch unseen; he hopes to learn whether Hamlet is really mad with love. Claudius agrees, saying that “[m]adness in great ones” must be carefully watched (III.i.187).
Analysis
“To be, or not to be” is the most famous line in English literature. What does it mean? Why are these words and what follows special?
One reason is that they are a stunning example of Shakespeare’s ability to make his characters seem three-dimensional. The audience senses that there is more to Hamlet’s words than meets the ear—that there is something behind his words that is never spoken. Or, to put it another way, the audience witnesses signs of something within Hamlet’s mind that even he isn’t aware of. Hamlet is a fictional character who seems to possess a subconscious mind. How does Shakespeare manage to accomplish this?
In the first place, Hamlet doesn’t talk directly about what he’s really talking about. When he questions whether it is better “to be, or not to be,” the obvious implication is, “Should I kill myself?” The entire soliloquy strongly suggests that he is toying with suicide and perhaps trying to work up his courage to do it. But at no point does he say that he is in pain or discuss why he wants to kill himself. In fact, he never says “I” or “me” in the entire speech. He’s not trying to “express” himself at all; instead, he poses the question as a matter of philosophical debate. When he claims that everybody would commit suicide if they weren’t uncertain about the afterlife, it sounds as if he’s making an argument to convince an imaginary listener about an abstract point rather than directly addressing how the question applies to him. Now, it’s perfectly ordinary for characters in plays to say something other than what they mean to other characters (this suggests that they are consciously hiding their true motives), but Hamlet does it when he’s talking to himself. This creates the general impression that there are things going on in Hamlet’s mind that he can’t think about directly.
Act III, scene i (page 2)
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While we’re on the subject of what’s going on inside Hamlet’s mind, consider his encounter with Ophelia. This conversation, closely watched by Claudius and Polonius, is, in fact, a test. It’s supposed to establish whether Hamlet’s madness stems from his lovesickness over Ophelia. Before we, the audience, see this encounter, we already think we know more than Claudius does: we know that Hamlet is only acting crazy, and that he’s doing it to hide the fact that he’s plotting against (or at least investigating) his uncle. Therefore, it can’t be true that he’s acting mad because of his love for Ophelia. But witnessing Hamlet’s encounter with her throws everything we think we know into question.
Does Hamlet mean what he says to Ophelia? He says that he did love her once but that he doesn’t love her now. There are several problems with concluding that Hamlet says the opposite of what he means in order to appear crazy. For one thing, if he really does love her, this is unnecessarily self-destructive behavior. It’s unnecessary because it doesn’t accomplish very much; that is, it doesn’t make Claudius suspect him less. His professions of former love make him appear fickle, or emotionally withdrawn, rather than crazy.
Is Hamlet really crazy or just pretending? He announced ahead of time that he was going to act crazy, so it’s hard to conclude that he (coincidentally) really went mad right after saying so. But his behavior toward Ophelia is both self-destructive and fraught with emotional intensity. It doesn’t obviously further his plans. Moreover, his bitterness against Ophelia, and against women in general, resonates with his general discontentedness about the state of the world, the same discontentedness that he expresses when he thinks no one is watching. There is a passionate intensity to his unstable behavior that keeps us from viewing it as fake.
Perhaps it is worthwhile to ask this question: if a person in a rational state of mind decides to act as if he is crazy, to abuse the people around him regardless of whether he loves those people or hates them, and to give free expression to all of his most antisocial thoughts, when he starts to carry those actions out, will it even be possible to say at what point he stops pretending to be crazy and starts actually being crazy?
http://www.sparknotes.com/shakespeare/hamlet/section6.rhtml