A collage of recitations of Hamlet’s “to be or not to be” speech in different languages

Alex Huang, a general editor of Ashgate’s Shakespearean International Yearbook, has assembled a collage of recitations of Hamlet’s “to be or not to be” speech in different languages, drawn from actual performances. The vague, versatile, and “Swiss-knife” verb “to be” is as ambiguous in English as it is in many other languages. Sometimes it is translates as “to have” (but to have or not to have what!?), to do, to die, and so on.

The recitations (recorded by the BBC) are available to listen to on the Global Shakespeares website.

There you will find —

English [Gielgud Hamlet]

Arabic [Sobhi Hamlet]

Assamese (Indian dialect) [Hazarika Hamlet]

Brazilian Portuguese [Correa Hamlet]

Japanese [Kurita Hamlet]

Korean [Yohangza Hamlet]

Mandarin [Hamlet Unplugged]

Swedish [Lyth Hamlet]

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