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Life, the Eternal Struggle

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Richard Chou Mrs. Heffernan ENG4UB-01 23 September 2002 Life, the Eternal Struggle Life is a mystery, and by most it is considered something to be cherished, something to be embraced and something to explore but, what when life takes a turn for the worse? In the song "Pinch Me" by The Bare Naked Ladies and the soliloquy from Act 3 Scene 1 of Hamlet by William Shakespeare a similar struggle within one's mind is present; whether or not to commit suicide due to the harsh reality that is life. Through this struggle similar themes of the toils of life, death and the uncertainty of the afterlife are revealed. The toils of life are responsible for the struggle witnessed in both pieces. "Pinch Me" reveals the cold and painful hardships that come with life. Life is regarded as "a dream", a cold dreadful nightmare where everything is not what it may seem to be, as is shown when the singer says, "It's colder than it looks outside" (Bare Naked Ladies). Metaphorically speaking, he is saying that life is not always what it is cut out to be, and sometimes can be harsh and unforgiving. ...read more.


In "Pinch Me", death is seen as a way of waking up from a "dream" (Bare Naked Ladies); all it needs is a "pinch". The only way out of the "dream" or nightmare of life is to "pack the car and leave...town," to die. "I could hide out under there"; here, the singer is referring to death as a safe haven, something which one can escape to in time of need. Death is the way to "see the world beyond your front door," suggesting that by ceasing to exist, one can become free from the confinement of life. "Pinch Me" is an excellent example of Hamlet's view of death as an escape from the hardships of life. "To be or not to be, that is the question" (Shakespeare 3.1.56), Hamlet poses the question whether or not to live or to die and which is the "nobler" (3.1.57) choice to make. Hamlet feels that death is what "flesh is heir to" (3.1.63) and thus should be expected and not feared. He thinks that by shuffling "off this mortal coil," (3.1.67) ...read more.


He also understands that an act of suicide is an act of defiance towards God therefore perhaps a grave punishment in Hell is in store for his rebellion against life. The fear of what is in store for Hamlet in the afterlife is what prevents Hamlet from committing suicide and to choose "to be" instead of "not to be". Both pieces demonstrated a fear of the uncertainty of the afterlife which in turn resulted in a reluctance to leave life as everything that was to be certain of remained in life. On the whole, each piece of work clearly contained ideas based around the harshness of life, death and the uncertainty after life through the psychological struggle taken place. Both Hamlet and "Pinch Me" demonstrated that life is a harsh burden and that through death; one may break free from the dissonance of life. Each piece also contained elements regarding fear of the uncertainty of what awaits in the afterlife which leaves one to cling to the certainty that is life. The three themes of the toils of life, death and the uncertainty of the afterlife were well exposed as Hamlet and the singer debate whether or not "to be or not to be" (Shakespeare 3.1.56). ...read more.

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