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Poem Analysis: “To be or Not to be”

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Poem Analysis: “To be or Not to be”






Poem Analysis: “To be or Not to be”


Shakespeare's writing is one of the most famous literary works that continue to control the center stage of literature despite being published several decades ago. His well-thought composition of plays and poems plays a central role in how learners understand composition and communication using written works. One of Shakespeare's most famous compositions is The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, which has a wide scope of themes and messages to audience and readers. Specifically, this analysis aims to dissect Hamlet's soliloquy, presented in Act III, Scene 1, Lines 55-87. To make the meaning of the poem, the analysis will consider several literary elements applied by the poet to convey meaning to the target audience. The analysis will consider words and images; voice, tone and sound; figurative language; rhythm and meter, as well as form and type

Words and Images

use of words and images is a prominent literary application available in Shakespeare’s poem, To be or not to be. The use of words in the poem helps communicate the actual message that was intended through the soliloquy of Hamlet. For example, the choice of the words “To be, or not to be?” (Shakespeare III, 1, 55) was intended to mean to live or to die, which posses a significant question to the audience as one contemplates an answer to the question. Additionally, the poem utilizes words that deepens the literary situation by depicting the nature of life that human beings, particularly Hamlet were going through. The poem indicates that "that makes calamity of so long life” (Shakespeare III, 1, 69), to mean perpetual suffering that human beings had to endure. The poem depicts the use of imagery by how Hamlet appears to Polonius speaking in deep thoughts and agonizing. Here, the image being portrayed is that Hamlet was experiencing depression and even contemplated suicide due to the painful experiences he was going through.

Voice, Tone, and Sound

The voice evidence is that of pain. Hamlet is saddened by how his life is leading. His voice and tone do not have any positive attributes that he can be happy for in his life. In the voice of the soliloquy, the poet indicates that “Th’ oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely” (Shakespeare III, 1, 71). This means there is an increase in oppression by the powerful and a lack of respect and insults from the arrogant men. In all these, the narrator finds justice to be very slow. The voice the run through the poem portrays a persona who is distressed and worries much about what would happen next in life. The sound...


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