Shakespeare vs Joe Strummer (most important question)

which is the most important question?
1- to be or not to be
2- should i stay or should i go now

That is the indecision me molesta.


Same thing innit?

Should I Stay or Should I Go was written by Mick Jones, not Joe Strummer.

Strummers’ - eh, I mean Jones’ - line is better.

“Stay” is stronger than “to be”; prouder, somehow, and more insistent. It’s planting your flag, taking your stand, and ridin’ while they hatin’, as it were. Whereas “to be” is much too loose, too passive, too weak.

By the same token, “go” is stronger than “not to be”; it more forcefully brings to mind the act of suicide. It points not towards the (non-)state of death itself, but towards the horrid hurdle one must pass to get there. “Go” indicates action; “not to be” does not. The former is better.

But do you know what would be really good? Inserting Jones’ line into Shakespeare’s text: I.e., first, “to be or not to be,” and then, immediately following that, “should I stay or should I go.” That way, you could see Hamlet’s mind ascend - or rather descend, as it were - from the idea in the abstract, in theory, and free of all practicalities (“to be or not to be”), to the idea in the flesh and in the blood, as it were (“should I stay or should I go”), with all the hard and tricky practicalities and complications which make up our little time on Earth, frustrating our ambitions and revealing our tragicomic indecision. “To be” would require “staying” = Continuing here, and somehow making your existence tolerable - perhaps even enjoyable! - while “not to be” would require “go[ing]” = Actually killing yourself, which Hamlet, being unreveng’d, is honour-bound not to allow himself to do just yet, and which, enamoured by his own wit if not in any mortal dame, he… Blah blah blah. Just had some coffee ovah heah. The mind races. Good morning, everyone. :slight_smile:

If I go there will be trouble
But if I stay there will be double

There’s probably a way to diagram that…

If I choose not to decide, have I still made a choice?

Really don’t mind if you sit this one out.

My college Shakespeare lit prof would have loved this thread.

Everybody knows the most important question is: