To Be or Not to Be:. Tragedy.wikidot.com. Suicide in Shakespeare By Ronjon Siler. Shakespeare and Suicide.
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Suicide in Shakespeare
By Ronjon Siler
In the 15 plays classified as tragedies, there are 13 definite and 8 possible suicides, ie, a total of 21 incidents for evaluation. Among the 13 overt suicides, at least 7 are depicted as being admirable under the circumstances at the time. Also, in various ways, 4 of these 13 were assisted, and at least 3 others contain an imitative element. Overall, the action of taking one's life is presented in a neutral or even favorable light, and the audience is left with a mingling of pity and admiration for the victim, not reproach. --Larry R. Kirkland ("To End Itself By Death: Suicide in Shakespeare's Tragedies," Southern Medical Journal)
“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…” William Shakespeare in ‘Hamlet’
(“Antony and Cleopatra”)