Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Transsexual's Sililoquy (Sorry William)

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 and remain a boy,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That the transsexual 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,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud woman's contumely,
The pangs of despised 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
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience can make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action. - Soft you now!
The fair Woman! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember'd. 
Sorry William but I could not resist just a tiny 
little play on your words with the single greatest 
soliloquy ever written by the Master of masters of
the written word,

I can imagine myself saying this as people told me
you cannot be a girl because you are a boy and that
is just the way it is. Can I stay this road being 
hurt the way society scorns me? Should I live or 
should I die? Ending your life is a way out.  
It is a one way ticket with no assurance of happiness in its 
finality because if we truly had assurances that
death brought happiness everyone would kill themselves
but staying the course may bring that happiness or the possibility. 
Our will is tested but we must not 
give in.  We must fight on

The family members who don't understand that playing on
our conscience because they are hurt are cowards and we 
are cowards if we let them stop us. Find your resolve and 
march on and be the girl you should have been born.

I am open to any suggestions for changes to make it better.
I do so love Shakespeare!!! 


Veronica said...

One hopes that people will emulate Hamlet in this one piece anyway. He decided not to kill himself but rather to take action to deal with his problem. We'll have to ignore that it all turned out badly in the end. :)

Shakespeare is absolutely amazing!

A few weeks ago in class, we did an exercise: rewrite the last six lines but one of Polonius's advice to Hamlet. We couldn't find a way to say it anywhere near as succinctly as Will had done:

Neither a borrower nor a lender be; / For loan oft loses both itself and friend, / And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry. / This above all: to thine own self be true, / And it must follow, as the night the day, / Thou canst not then be false to any man.

Elizabeth said...

What a little brat I was as a child sometimes. I spent my summer when I was 6 trying to emulate Shakespeare by talking like he wrote which was middle English with a sprinkling of Chaucer.

I had read everything by then with encouragement from my grandfather. It is impossible to rewrite Shakespeare because it is perfection.

Think about. "I could say Should I live or should I kill myself."

"To be or not to be" is just so perfect and yet so simple and so succinct. He had the ability to give characters on a written page 3 dimensions. There is NOBODY that can do that.

Melissa said...

My hat is off to both of you, because as much as I love Shakespeare's stories, which are excellent stories to be sure, I've always hated mentally translating the ancient language that he wrote them in. Shakespeare was actually a little bit late for Middle English, which according to my dictionary was from c. 1150 to c. 1470, but Chaucer? Well.....I might as well be reading Greek, as to be reading the Middle English that he wrote in! I remember having to read Canterbury Tales in high school, and it was pure torture for me! I had to read each line four or five times to even get an inkling of what he was saying.

Elizabeth, you were an absolutely amazing child to be reading and quoting Shakespeare and Chaucer, at only 6 years old! No wonder you are so impressive!

Melissa XX

Veronica said...

(Puts English major pedant hat on)

Chaucer is considered late Middle English. You can almost read it, but not quite. I can't imagine assigning Canterbury Tales in the original language to a high school class, unless it's just to memorize. I studied Chaucer in university.

I also took a course in early Middle English, only one step removed from Anglo-Saxon. We basically translated texts. The different works were also in different dialects. The Kentish Sermons were no thrill, but the Owl and the Nightengale was pretty good, as I recall.

Shakespeare is considered Modern English, although we are a long way removed from those times. Unlike Chaucer, we can read Shakespeare. Words might be unfamiliar, but they're recognizable. No "whanne in Aprille." The best way to enjoy Shakespeare is to see a play performed by a company of players who really understand what they're saying. The meaning then comes through clearly. And it's amazing.

Elizabeth said...


I was reading it cause my Grandpa read it and I was reading at 3 and it was either Shakespeare or the Encyclopedia. Reading waas encouraged. Just genetics from mom and dad. I am not even the sharpest kid of the 3. I was enthralled by Shakespeare and did it to piss off my grandmother basically and probably as a defense mechanism because my mom was recovering from paralytic polio and it was rough on me.


Shakespeare was in many ways the bridge between middle English and modern english so I was wrong if I said middle english but his english is really the beginning of what is spoken today. Been 45+ years since my last English lit course.

I have seen most of his works done live. In the 90's I spent a lot of time in Dunton in East Anglia England working with Ford Motor Company R&D and I took a train to London and went to the thaetre and saw the Royal Shakespeare Company do the full Hamlet, MacBeth, etc whenever I could.

My husband was a Navy Pilot and I introduced him to Shakespeare and I allowed him to corrupt my musical tastes with Country music and we both learned to appreciate each others likes. :-)

To most people Shakespeare is like Greek. I absolutely loved Chaucer and it took a while but I was pretty good at middle english. Mom was a linguist so I am sure it was genetics. I loved Chaucer because adults just didn't understand how ribald and raunchy he was.