William Shakespeare, Mr William Shakespeares comedies, histories and tragedies..., 1623, 'First Folio' - 'To be or not to be…', p.265, p.oo5r, detail.

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Date:1623

Description:‘To be, or not to be’: Shakespeare’s interest in mortality.

Hamlet’s soliloquy beginning: ‘To be, or not to be’ (3,1, lines 58-90), in which the prince contemplates suicide, has become one of the best known speeches written by Shakespeare.


Full title: William Shakespeare, Mr William Shakespeares comedies, histories & tragedies published according to the True Originall Copies, London, printed by Isaac Jaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, 1623.

The 'Ashburnham' copy owned by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.


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1570s
Henri Estienne, A mervaylous discourse upon... Katherine de Medici…, 1575 - title page
Henri Estienne, A mervaylous discourse upon... Katherine de Medici…, 1575 - title page

Shakespeare may have owned this book. Shakespeare purchased New Place, the largest ...

1590s
William Shakespeare, Venus and Adonis, 1594, leaf F4v.
William Shakespeare, Venus and Adonis, 1594, leaf F4v.

Shakespeare’s first published works. The long poem, Venus and Adonis, was ...

1610s
Plutarch, The lives of the noble Grecians and Romaines, 1612 - Antony and Cleopatra, p. 922, detail.
Plutarch, The lives of the noble Grecians and Romaines, 1612 - Antony and Cleopatra, p. 922, detail.

Shakespeare followed this description of Cleopatra. Shakespeare became very ...

1630s
William Shakespeare, Quartos, Love's Labour's Lost, 1631 - title page
William Shakespeare, Quartos, Love's Labour's Lost, 1631 - title page

A play for the Blackfriars Theatre: Shakespeare's Love’s Labour’s Lost. The ...

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Donor ref:SR/OS 37 1623 [1] (32/10666)

Source: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust - Library

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