This is an odd little piece that imagines Hamlet soliloquising to a telephone counsellor.
|Counsellor: Hello, Telephone Helpline - can I help you?|
Hamlet: To be, or not to be; that is the question.
Counsellor: Mm hmm
Hamlet: 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?
Counsellor: End them
Hamlet: 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 wished.
Counsellor You can’t decide whether to die or to keep fighting your problems
Hamlet: To die, to sleep. To sleep; perchance to dream; aye, there’s the rub. For in that sleep of death what
dreams may come when we have shuffled off that mortal coil, must give us pause.
Counsellor You’re concerned about what happens after you die
Hamlet: There’s the respect that makes calamity of so long life.
Counsellor Mm Hmm
Hamlet: For who would bear the whips and scorns of time, the oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s
contumely, the pangs of despised love, the law’s delay, the insolence of office and the spurns that
patient merit of the unworthy takes when he himself might his quietus make with a bare bodkin?
Counsellor: You seem to be saying that you could get rid of your problems by stabbing yourself
Hamlet: Who would fardels bear, to grunt and sweat under a weary life. But that the dread of something
after death, the undiscover’d country from whose bourn no traveller returns, puzzles the will. And
makes us rather bear those ills we have than fly to others that we know not of?
Counsellor So the fear of what happens after you die is greater than the pain of living
Hamlet: Thus conscience does make cowards of us all; and thus the native hue of resolution is sicklied o’er
with the pale cast of thought. And enterprises of great pith and moment, with this regard their
currents turn awry, and lose the name of action.
Counsellor: One theme you keep coming back to seems to be that you can’t decide whether the pains of
life are worth bearing. You could kill yourself but you fear what would happen after you do so and
nobody can tell you what that might be. However, your conscience prevents you from doing this,
as it often does with other major projects. Have I heard you correctly?