Chris Mathews just noted that Trump used “slings and arrows” in his rally today, quoting Hamlet. Chris, amused, says “my God, who is this guy quoting Hamlet” and then he went on from memory to recite the verses above. Watch video clip of Trump here.
Trump said "I take all of these slings and arrows gladly; so we can have our country back.”
In other words, he is saying he will take all the weapons being thrown at him to save the country for his supporters. He want to convert the image of standing up to “malicious attacks,” as he called them, like a soldier in ancient times being bombarded by rock and arrows.
What Chris Mathews didn’t say is that Trump has no idea what Hamlet was talking about.
Hamlet says these lines feeling so despondent that he is contemplating suicide and his own death, and wondering whether death — perchance to dream — would be worse than living.
The “to be or not to be” soliloquy is the most famous from all of Shakespeare, if not the most well known from all of literature.
Here’s what educator William Delaney has to say about why this is:
I think it is entirely possible that Shakespeare wrote the “To be or not to be” soliloquy as a separate piece expressing his own personal feelings about life and death and then put it away in the bottom drawer, as writers will do, until he found a convenient spot for it when he was writing his play Hamlet. What is important in this soliloquy, and what explains its great popularity, is the truths it tells about human existence, not what it reveals about the character of the moody Prince. We have all personally experienced some of the slings and arrows Hamlet complains about, just by being alive and having to deal with people and struggle to keep a niche in the crowded, competitive world. And we have all felt discouraged and wondered whether existence was really worth the trouble. Reference
What Hamlet is musing on is the comparison between the pain of life, which he sees as inevitable (the sea of troubles - the slings and arrows - the heart-ache - the thousand natural shocks) and the fear of the uncertainty of death and of possible damnation of suicide.
Hamlet's dilemma is that although he is dissatisfied with life and lists its many torments, he is unsure what death may bring (the dread of something after death). He can't be sure what death has in store; it may be sleep but in perchance to dream he is speculating that it is perhaps an experience worse than life. Death is called the undiscover'd country from whichno traveller returns. In saying that Hamlet is acknowledging that, not only does each living person discover death for themselves, as no one can return from it to describe it, but also that suicide os a one-way ticket. If you get the judgment call wrong, there's no way back. www.phrases.org.uk/...
Trump quoting Shakespeare is insane enough. His not knowing what the hell he is talking about is Trump being Trump.