To be or no to be...

The soliloquy that survived time and space

Shakespearen Tragedy

Shakespeare’s themes are frequently the great abstract, universal themes, seen both on the social level and the individual level: ambition, power, love, death, and so on. The theatre permitted him to create characters who embody the themes directly, and who speak to the audience in language that is recognisably the same language as they speak.

Over to you

Watch the video of the "To be or not to be" soliloquy delivered by Prince Hamlet in Act 3, Scene I in "The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark", by William Shakespeare.

Hamlet has some serious problems:

  • His father has been murdered. His mother has married the man who murdered his father. His father's ghost has visited him asking him to avenge his death, but he cannot act, something stops him.
  • As he thinks about the situation, he asks himself many questions, the first one is "to be or not to be, that is the question..."
  • What do you think he means? what is "not to be"?
  • Do you think that Hamlet's problems have universal value beyond his particular situation? You can click the button below to check on difficult words.

Bibliography

  • John Pfordresher et al. England in Literature. Scott Fpresman Classic edition. Glenview, Illinois, 1989
  • Lecture 1 by A. C. Bradley (University of Oxford, 1904): “The Substance of Shakespearean Tragedy”

Justificación

La actividad está pensada para un curso de 4to año del profesorado de inglés (terciario) que cursan la materia Literatura II. En esta actividad se busca que los alumnos realicen un análisis de la obra mencionada en dicha actividad. Esta obra debe estar leída para poder llevar a cabo la clase. Se parte de un fragmento, el soliloquio de Hamlet que aparece en el acto 3, escena 1, y luego de entender su contenido (con ayuda de un glosario) se espera que los alumnos respondan a dos preguntas de análisis: 1) ¿a qué se refiere el personaje con la frase "no ser (not to be)"? y 2) ¿Le parece que los problemas de Hamlet tienen alcance universal?

La primera pregunta se centra en el nivel del significado textual, en la trama de la historia; la segunda hace referencia al título de esta tackk, el nivel transtextual, al impacto o relevancia de este soliloquio en la cultura universal.

El video sirve para ilustrar el tono dramático del fragmento que los alumnos deben analizar.

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