Shakespeare's Hamlet: "To be, or not to be, that is the question:"
Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The sling and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them
(III, I, 56 – 60)
The above lines are part of a famous soliloquy by Hamlet in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”. The revelation made by the ghost of Hamlet’s dead father had come as a shock to Hamlet who had therefore formed a resolve to avenge the murder of his father by his uncle Claudius. However, he has so far not able to take any steps in the direction of the revenge which he has been contemplating. He has merely been brooding over the problem with which he is faced, but he has not yet been able to come to any definite decision. In the soliloquy from which these lines have been taken, Hamlet discusses with himself the pros and cons of suicide.
Hamlet asks himself whether he should kill himself of he should continue to live and endure the sorrows of life. The question before him is whether it would be nobler for him to undergo the mental torture caused by the blows and buffeting administered to him by an arbitrary fate, or it would be nobler to fight against the overwhelming force of life’s misfortunes and thus try to put an end to those misfortunes.