2016-02-27 04:09:46 UTC
Bodkin's definitions in OED around 1600:
1. A short pointed weapon ...
2. A small pointed instrument ...
*3. A long pin or pin-shaped ornament used by women to fasten up the hair.
A noble has an illegitimate. The pregnant woman is guarded by her family.
A midwife (bribed by the noble) with a bare bodkin kills the baby during
the birth. The bodkin must be bare to avoid hurting the woman.
"To be, or not to be" talks about the illegitimate. This solution can well
reason every word of Hamlet's lines:
To be, or not to be, that is the Question:
Whether it's Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
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 Flesh is heir too? It's a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. 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 poor man's Contumely,
The pangs of disprized 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 *=quite-us
With a bare Bodkin? Who would these Fardels bear
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered Country, from whose Borne
No Traveler returns, Puzzles the *will*,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have,
Than fly to others that we know not of.
Thus Conscience does make Cowards of us all,
And thus the Native hew of Resolution
Is sicklied over, with the pale cast of Thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment,
With this regard their Currants turn away,
And loose the name of Action. Soft you now,
The fair _Ophelia_? Nymph, in thy Orisons
*Be* all my sins remembered.
The last line shows that the kill is done.
"To be, or not to be ... Be ..."