Hamlet’s famous soliloquy with modern translation. This is for “A-List Ashly.”




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 heartache and the thousand natural shocks


That flesh is heir to—’tis a consummation


Devoutly to be wished! 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




The question is: is it better to be alive or dead? Is it nobler to put up with all the nasty things that luck throws your way, or to fight against all those troubles by simply putting an end to them once and for all? Dying, sleeping—that’s all dying is—a sleep that ends all the heartache and shocks that life on earth gives us—that’s an achievement to wish for. To die, to sleep—to sleep, maybe to dream. Ah, but there’s the catch: in death’s sleep who knows what kind of dreams might come, after we’ve put the noise and commotion of life behind us. That’s certainly something to worry about. That’s the consideration that makes us stretch out our sufferings so long.