Monday, November 15, 2010
As I was reading Candide over the weekend, I noticed that one of the old woman's quotations sounded extremely familiar. At the end of her story, the old woman explains how her life's suffering has been so painful that she has at times contemplated suicide. Like Hamlet in his "To Be or Not to Be" Speech, she explains that the decision not to commit suicide is a great act of cowardice. She asserts, "I wanted to kill myself, but always I loved life more. This ridiculous weakness is perhaps one of our worst instincts; is anything more stupid than choosing to carry a burden that really one wants to cast on the ground?" I thought it was such a coincidence to come across this line so soon after reading Hamlet. Do you all think Voltaire intentionally alludes to Shakespeare's "To Be or Not to Be" Speech?