Taking arms against a sea of troubles

“To be or not to be- that is the question
Whether it is 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 “

Shakespeare’s Hamlet

The Hamletian dilemma stated here is not a profound philosophical statement but it appeals to you more in terms of the poetic beauty of the lines.In our younger days we were confused by the apparent inconsistency of “taking arms against a sea of troubles” The inconsistency is in using the “image within image” of “taking arms against a sea of troubles” but actually there are three images, each of them interacting with the other.-“Taking arms”, “against a sea of troubles”,”a sea of troubles”.

By way of elaboration we may state it this way :the individual takes arms against troubles and by opposing them ends them. Troubles are the soldiers of the opposing army .The soldiers gathered in the battlefield look like a sea. The three images are ;1)the individual takes arms like a warrior 2) he takes arms against troubles and 3)the troubles look like a sea.

Advertisements