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Verses Semantic markers Structural components Comments

To be
Or
not to be?
That is the question.
Main Question: Life
Or
Death in the form of
a choice
1. The Or Question Left part of the Or question is
Life; Right part of the question is
Death. The question is about a
choice.
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?
Life/Reality
Or
Death/Dream
2. The Or question expanded Each part on the left and right of
the question above is expanded and
given detail.
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 wishd.

To die, to sleep. To sleep.

Perchance to dream.
Death/Dream



The Death wish
3. Death part




Elaboration and expansion of the
right part of the question. Notice
the Death wish portion in it. Below
is a count and a total of words
related to Death:
Not to be 1
End 2
Die 2
Sleep 5
Dream 2
Death 1
Metaphors 2
Total 15
Ay, theres the rub.

For in that sleep of death what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil?

Must give us pause.

Theres the respect that makes calamity of so long life.
Turning point in
reasoning


The Pause

Turning point in
reasoning repeated
4. Pivot/Turning point/Pause Doubt in and separation from Death
For who would bear
The whips and scorns of time,
The oppressors wrong,
The proud mans contumely,
The pang of despised love,
The laws 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?

Who would fardels bear to grunt and sweat under a weary life?
Life/Reality 5. Life part Elaboration and expansion of the
left part of the question in the form
of two rhetorical questions to
which the implicit answer is:
Nobody would want that, i.e. to
suffer the slings and arrows of
outrageous fortune. Notice that
would here means want as in
Who wants to bear?
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscoverd country from whose bourn no traveler returns puzzles the will.
Fear of Death/Dream 6. Dread/Fear of the Unknown The deciding factor to choose
between Death or Life, the Hard
or the Soft answer
And makes us rather bear those ills we have than fly to others that we know not of.

Thus conscience does make cowards of us all, and
Thus the native hue of resolution is sicklied oer 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.

Soft you now!
Main Answer
Decision: Life/Reality
over Death/Dream
7. The Soft Answer An answer to the Or question is
given and a decision is made in
favor of Life but not because Life is
nice and beautiful but because
Death is dreaded and feared. The
final choice has been made and the
Or question answered.
Thesis:
Decision for Life/Reality/Known/Conscience/Thought over Death/Sleep/Unknown/Dream/Action is made not because Life/Reality/Known/Conscience/
Thought is nice and beautiful but because of Fear from the Unknown and the Fear of Death/Sleep/Unknown/Dream/Action. This is a pessimistic decision based
on Fear.

An optimistic decision for Life/Reality/Known/Conscience/Thought would have been based on how beautiful Life/Reality/Known/Conscience/Thought is and,
therefore, it must be lived to the fullest. However, this is not the case here.

Overall component structure of the soliloquy:

1. The Or Question (left/Life and right/Death parts)
2. Expanded Or question (left/Life and right/Death parts)
3. Death part (right part above)
4. Pivot (Turning point/the pause is the doubt in and separation from Death)
5. Life part (left part above: two rhetorical questions to which the implicit answer is: Nobody would want that, i.e. to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.)
6. Dread/Fear of the Unknown (Dread/Fear of Death as the deciding factor to choose between Death or Life, the Hard or the Soft answer)
7. The Soft Answer
The DNA-like semantic structure of the soliloquy a backbone of pairs of opposites (can be traced in each sentence or set of sentences as the case may be;
see the Appendix):





List of words associated with Death/Sleep/Unknown/Dream/Action:

Not to be, end, die, sleep, sleep, end, die, sleep, sleep, dream, sleep, death, dreams, shuffled off this mortal coil, consummation (in 1, 2, 3, and 4 structural
component verses).

Not to be 1
End 2
Die 2
Sleep 5
Dream 2
Death 1
Metaphors 2
-----------------------
Total 15
Life ||<>|| Death
Reality ||<>|| Sleep
Known ||<>|| Unknown
Conscience ||<>|| Dream
Thought ||<>|| Action
Appendix

At the core of the semantic spectral analysis method lies the linguistic principle that various and seemingly different components on the surface structure (SS) of
the linguistic material can express similar or the same meaning or semantic content at the deep structure (DS) level. In this way, the goal of the analysis is to find,
identify, and associate surface structure (SS) components with deep structure (DS) elements called semantic markers. Sentences, parts of sentences, or whole
blocks of text have been highlighted in red (the left side of the backbone) or blue (the right side of the backbone) to trace the DNA-like semantic structure of
the soliloquy. The parts which have not been highlighted represent other surface structure components (see the table at the top). By colorizing various parts of
the surface structure (SS) of the soliloquy, one can see and explore visually the folding in and mutual intertwining of the two strands in Hamlets deep
structure (DS) reasoning process: Life/Reality/Known/Conscience/Thought versus Death/Sleep/Unknown/Dream/Action. Like in a protein, one can see
defined (DS) structural regions of intense activity, reaction, and counteraction between the pairs of opposites. Similar to a DNA molecule, these pairs of
opposites weave their way through the semantic space of the human mind as they make a stop or take a turn every so often.

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 wishd.
To die, to sleep. To sleep.
Perchance to dream.
Ay, theres the rub.
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil?
Must give us pause.
Theres the respect that makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear
The whips and scorns of time,
The oppressors wrong,
The proud mans contumely,
The pang of despised love,
The laws 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?
Who would fardels bear to grunt and sweat under a weary life?
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscoverd country from whose bourn no traveler returns,
puzzles the will.
And makes us rather bear those ills we have than fly to others that we know not of.
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all, and
Thus the native hue of resolution is sicklied oer 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.
Soft you now!
After having identified the semantic and structural regions of the soliloquys DNA above, we replace the linguistic elements representing those regions with
their semantic marker equivalents from the backbone. The result of this substitution is shown below:

Life
Or
Death?
That is the question.
Whether tis nobler Thought
Or
Action Thought Action Thought?
Death, Sleep. Unknown.
Sleep Reality.
Death.
Death, Sleep. Sleep.
Dream.
Ay, theres the rub.
Sleep Death Dream Life?
Must give us pause.
Theres the respect Life.
Life Reality
Life Reality,
Life Reality,
Life Reality,
Life Reality,
Life Reality,
Life Reality, and
Life Reality
Death Sleep?
Life Reality?
But that the dread of something after Death,
Unknown,
puzzles Thought.
Known Unknown.
Conscience Dream, and
Action Thought, and
Action Thought Action.
Thought!
Exhibit

Below is a colored chart (spectrogram) of the structural regions in the soliloquy obtained/built by replacing the highlighted text in the previous section with solid
colors. The red regions represent the left side of the backbone; the blue regions represent the right side of the backbone; and, the black regions represent the
Or, the Pivot/Pause, and the Dread/Fear of the Unknown, respectively.



SEMANTIC SPECTRAL ANALYSIS OF HAMLETS TO BE OR NOT TO BE:
THE SEMANTIC & STRUCTURAL DNA SIGNATURE (SEQUENCE) OF THE SOLILOQUY
The semantic representation above suggests the following interpretation of the soliloquy: in general, it is divided into two semantic zones, Death and Life, in
that order. Each zone is, for the most part, homogeneous (solid blue or red) with the exception of a few ripples (red or blue stripes) here and there in the
semantic space. Each zone peaks with a stop or pause, a sort of a climax (black stripes).

The reasoning starts from the side of Death. The Death zone covers the following semantic area:

Death, Sleep. Unknown.
Sleep Reality.
Death.
Death, Sleep. Sleep.
Dream.
Ay, theres the rub.
Sleep Death Dream Life?
Must give us pause.
Theres the respect

The reasoning here is that Death (solid blue) is so nice and attractive that it is much better than Life (red stripes) and is the preferred option of the two. This
semantic trend peaks with a stop or pause (black stripes), a moment of epiphany, which can be described as follows: But wait! Take a pause! There is a
problem. What comes after death is unknown!

The reasoning then starts again, taking a sort of a reboot; however, this time, the approach is from the other side, the side of Life. The Life zone covers the
following semantic area:

Life.
Life Reality
Life Reality,
Life Reality,
Life Reality,
Life Reality,
Life Reality,
Life Reality, and
Life Reality
Death Sleep?
Life Reality?
But that the dread of something after Death,
Unknown,
puzzles Thought.

The reasoning here is that Life (solid red) is so bad and ugly that it is much worse than Death (blue stripes). This semantic trend peaks with the second stop
or pause (black stripes) in the soliloquy, a second moment of epiphany, which can be described as follows: But wait! Take a pause! There is a problem. What
comes after death is unknown and dreadful!

Clearly, as seen in the colored chart (spectrogram) above, there is a striking symmetry or resemblance between the Death (solid blue) zone and the Life
(solid red) zone, each with its own peak (black stripes). The semantics of the two peaks is the same: What comes after death is unknown and fearful. Hamlets
reasoning process is similar to climbing a pyramid from two opposite ends (Death and Life) and reaching the same top (fear of death and the unknown).

Eventually, the two zones (alternating red and blue stripes below as well as in the spectrogram above) clash and a winner is declared. The Clash zone covers
the following semantic area:

Known Unknown.
Conscience Dream, and
Action Thought, and
Action Thought Action.
Thought!

The reasoning here is that, even though Death (blue stripes) is so much better than Life (red stripes), Life is the winner because the instinctive fear of
death and the unknown is primordial, primeval, and primal while the comfort of living, being, and existing is predictable and known.*

Mapping Hamlets reasoning about the two extreme states of Death and Life with the intermediate states of Being such as Sleep, Dream, and others along the
continuous spectrum/scale of Existence below, we can see that Hamlet draws a line between Dream and Snoozing with everything to the left being Death and
everything to the right being Life, in his possible world semantics. Compare Hamlets semantics with another (perhaps, scientific/empirical ) view of Death and
Life where the line between Death and Life is placed between Death and Coma in the chart below with everything to the right considered to be Life or Living. Or,
perhaps, consider yet another line between Sleepwalking and Dream where everything to the left is considered Death and everything to the right is considered
Consciousness. Hamlets own idea of Life and Death as described here reflects a wider acceptance of the notion of Death, Sleep, Dream, and Imagination as
being one and the same by not only the Renaissance authors but also by the English Romantic writers from the Romantic period of the early 19
th
century.

100% |
Death
|
Coma
|
Sleep
|
Sleepwalking
|
Dream
|
Snoozing
| 100%
Awakeness












* In this analysis, we have extracted only the semantic component from the underlying linguistic material by substituting the linguistic elements for their semantic markers. In addition to the
semantic spectrum, the linguistic material is loaded with and carries other types of content and meaning (spectra) including but not limited to: phonetic, morphological, syntactic, lexical,
connotative, metaphoric, expressive, emotive, discursive, historical (grammar), political, biographical, and cultural.