- Epitaph for a Peacemaker
TO BE OR NOT TO BE so like the king,
For Hamlet THAT was and IS THE QUESTION.
With Denmark's dying voice Hamlet did bring
The final answer. "NO!" his answer soars
To the heavens, now end all OF THESE WARS
A gravedigger was hired on the very day that Hamlet emerged from his mother's womb, which was the same day his father put old Fortinbras into the womb of earth (his grave), thus acquiring land "that was and is the question of these wars" and which was Hamlet's inheritance, figuratively a graveyard, not big enough to cover the dead from the impending war over that same land.
BERNARDO [referring to the Ghost of Hamlet's father](1,1,121-124)
I think it be no other but e'en so:
Well may it sort that this portentous figure
Comes armed through our watch; SO LIKE THE KING
THAT WAS AND IS THE QUESTION OF THESE WARS.
TO BE OR NOT TO BE...THAT IS THE QUESTION
Hamlet's dilemma was whether "TO BE OR NOT TO BE," like the Ghost, "so like the king THAT was and IS THE QUESTION of these wars."
How if I answer 'no'?
. . .
But I do prophesy the election lights
On Fortinbras: he has my DYING VOICE
...The rest is silence.
With his dying words he proved that he was not "so like the king THAT was and IS THE QUESTION of these wars." Hamlet passed his inheritance of blood-soaked dirt and the voice of Denmark to Fortinbras - without a war, thus saving the lives of thousands of Hamlet's countrymen.
He drank to his union with his land,
Now he's rich in dirt, for all it's worth,
Here he lies in the womb of earth,
A grave man, united with his land.
For the explanation (based on lines from the play), please see:
- Epitaph for a King