Hamlet: "To be or not to be..."

Hamlet: "To be or not to be..."

Bristol Old Vic

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Hamlet's famous soliloquy in Act 3, Scene 1 of the play is one of the most celebrated moments in English literature. Here, at the pinnacle of his despair, Hamlet grapples with the existential dilemma of whether it is better to endure the hardships of life or to end the suffering through death, "To be or not to be: that is the question."

Throughout the monologue, Hamlet considers the meaning of life, philosophically contemplating the pros and cons of life and death. He reflects on the struggles and injustices of existence, suggesting that life is so miserable that no one would willingly suffer existence if they weren't so afraid of the uncertainty that lies beyond, ''For who would bear the whips and scorns of time... But that the dread of something after death.''

Shakespeare's mastery in character development shines through in this scene as Hamlet avoids personal pronouns like "I" or "me", distancing himself from his thoughts on morality. This technique subtly exposes his internal conflict and psychological depth, providing a glimpse into the complexities of his psyche without direct expression.

In John Haidar's production with the Bristol Old Vic, Hamlet is portrayed as a modern-day angsty teen, dressed in black and ready to be set off into a rage by the slightest comment. In this scene, actor Billy Howle shows off his total command of the role and deep understanding of Hamlet's unknown inner turmoil.

Cast & Crew

(Director), Billy Howle (Hamlet), (Writer)

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