Suppose that Hamlet is aware that Claudius and Polonius are spying on him in scene 1. How might this affect your reading of the "To be or not to be" speech?
If Hamlet believes that he is alone, then we can interpret his "To be or not to be" speech to be a sincere mediation on the nature of life and death. However, if he is aware of Claudius and Polonius' presence, then it's possible that this speech is just another red herring designed to further convince them of his madness. And if it is so, this would also lead the reader to question the seriousness of Hamlet's contemplation of suicide.
How does the appearance of the ghost in Act I...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 727 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 4232 literature essays, 1407 sample college application essays, 171 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.