Words Spoken by Hamlet, Act 3 Scene 1 — William Shakespeare:
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;
In this, the most popular and most searchable of Shakespeare’s quotes, Hamlet is thinking about life and death. He is pondering about a state of being versus a state of not being. In essence, being alive and being dead. Consciousness and self-awareness or nothing. Is the lack of consciousness which in a way is the absence of self-awareness represents death?
Humans have been pondering these thoughts for many millennia.