FINE ARTS – POETRY: William Shakespeare / “Hamlet: Act III, scene I [To be, or not to be]” / The Guardian / Shakespeare solos / Adrian Lester” ☮

William Shakespeare, 1564 – 1616

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.

How to Enjoy Reading Shakespeare

[…]

The first thing you have to do when confronting Shakespeare is break down the wall of resistance that has been constructed between you and him by a cultural atmosphere fraught with willful misunderstanding. For instance, how many times have you heard someone say that Shakespeare wrote in Old English or Middle English? That right there might be enough to put you off. But both of those claims are patently false.

[…]

Shakespeare wrote in Modern English, the same language that we speak today. [. . .] Your problem with understanding Shakespeare is due to his language being poetic. Most of your everyday discourse has become so pedestrian that your ears have become unable to tune in to language that aspires to greater heights. This may or may not be your fault. We all are aware that the state of education in this country is woefully bleak. But why submit to the prevailing philistine attitude without a fight?

Read more . . .

Arianna Huffington: Quoting Shakespeare

To celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday, we’re featuring some of our favorite archival pieces about his life and work. This one was first published in July 2005. Happy Birthday, Bill!

If you cannot understand my argument, and declare ‘It’s Greek to me’,
you are quoting Shakespeare;
if you claim to be more sinned against than sinning,
you are quoting Shakespeare;
if you recall your salad days,
you are quoting Shakespeare;
if you act more in sorrow than in anger,
if your wish is father to the thought,
if your lost property has vanished into thin air,
you are quoting Shakespeare;
if you have ever refused to budge an inch or suffered from green-eyed jealousy,
if you have played fast and loose,
if you have been tongue-tied,
a tower of strength,
hoodwinked or in a pickle,
if you have knitted your brows,
made a virtue of necessity,
insisted on fair play,
slept not one wink,
stood on ceremony,
danced attendance (on your lord and master),
laughed yourself into stitches,
had short shrift, cold comfort or too much of a good thing,
if you have seen better days or lived in a fool’s paradise —
why, be that as it may, the more fool you, for it is a foregone conclusion that you are (as good luck would have it) quoting Shakespeare;
if you think it is early days and clear out bag and baggage,
if you think it is high time and that that is the long and short of it,
if you believe that the game is up and that truth will out even if it involves your own flesh and blood,
if you lie low till the crack of doom because you suspect foul play,
if you have your teeth set on edge (at one fell swoop) without rhyme or reason,
then — to give the devil his due — if the truth were known (for surely you have a tongue in your head) you are quoting Shakespeare;
even if you bid me good riddance and send me packing,
if you wish I was dead as a doornail,
if you think I am an eyesore,
a laughing stock,
the devil incarnate,
a stony-hearted villain,
bloody-minded or a blinking idiot,
then — by Jove!
O Lord!
Tut, tut!
For goodness’ sake!
What the dickens!
But me no buts —
it is all one to me, for you are quoting Shakespeare.

Read more . . .