I'm not going to try to teach acting over the Internet, but here is a well-known speech of Shakespeare's with some peculiarities in the verse that are worth commenting on. The hyperlinks in the text lead to pages on verse techniques that will be useful to you as an actor. If you're not familiar with blank verse, you might want to read the introduction first. If you want a more complete discussion, please take the class. For information--even about Shakespeare questions--email me or call me any time at (212) 865-1127.

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Introduction to blank verse                    Back to Acting Shakespeare's Verse


  Act III Scene 1 lines 56-82
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;           60
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 wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,      70
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of dispriz'd 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? 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                              80
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?

©  Deloss Brown 2009--the comments, that is
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