To be, or not to be  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

"To be, or not to be" is the famous opening phrase of a soliloquy in William Shakespeare's play Hamlet. In the soliloquy, Hamlet questions the meaning of life, and whether or not it is worthwhile to stay alive when life contains so many hardships. He comes to the conclusion that the main reason people stay alive is due to a fear of death and uncertainty at what lies beyond life.

Cultural impact

"To be, or not to be" is one of the most widely known and quoted lines in modern English, and the soliloquy has been referenced in innumerable works of theatre, literature and music.

Star Trek's sixth film was named after the "Undiscovered Country" line from this soliloquy.

The film What Dreams May Come also derives its name from a line from this soliloquy.

In 1963 at a debate in Oxford, Black liberation leader Malcolm X quoted the first few lines of the soliloquy to make a point about "extremism in defense of liberty."

P.D. James' dystopian novel The Children of Men (1992) refers to expected or forced mass suicides of the elderly as "Quietus". The film adaptation Children of Men (2006) portrays a self-administered home suicide kit, labelled "Quietus".

A shorter Hindi version of "To be, or not to be" was recited by Shahid Kapoor in the 2014 Bollywood film Haider.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "To be, or not to be" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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