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"The undiscovered country"
Context and Language Videos
Act 3,
Scene 1
Lines 78-83

A discussion of the phrase "undiscovered country" in Act 3, Scene 1 of myShakespeare's Hamlet. 

myShakespeare | Hamlet 3.1 "The Undiscovered Country"


To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country from whose bourn
No traveler returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have,
Than fly to others that we know not of?    
Video Transcript: 

SARAH: Hamlet sums up here: if we put up with a tiresome life and all its burdens, it must be because we're afraid of the unknown that faces us after death.

RALPH: What an expression he uses here for the afterlife! "The undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveller returns." What's so great about this is how Shakespeare mixes the personal and the subjective with the general and the objective. Death is an undiscovered country for me, personally, because I'm still alive.

SARAH: And yet, others have died before and discovered it. But they're like travellers who never come back — we can't learn from their experience, no matter how universal it is.

RALPH: Death is something we all go through, and yet we know absolutely nothing about it.