Hamlet’s Iconic Soliloquy, 
by William Shakespeare 


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 sicklied 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.   

Soft you now! The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons be all my sins remember’d.   


1. When Hamlet asks the question “To be, or not to be”, he is talking about:
   a) shooting bows and arrows
   b) swimming in  the sea
   c) whether it is better to live or to die

2. What does Hamlet mean when he talks of sleeping?
   a) death
   b) being very tired
   c) having a lot of dreams

3. Why isn’t Hamlet sure that death is a good idea?
   a) because he will miss all his friends
   b) because no one knows what happens after we die
   c) because he wants to be king

4. What is Hamlet talking about when he says, “the undiscover’d country from whose bourne no traveler returns”?  
   a) having dreams about flying
   b) death
   c) being in love