8 June 2018
To Live or Not to Live: An Analysis Concerning the Evolution of the Human Condition
Starring up at the ceiling, pondering the basis of humanity. Questioning existence , the
meaning of mortality, and their purpose in the world. These ideologies veraciously depict the
human condition. Over the course of the last few hundred years, humans have experienced a
technological and societal transition from a civilization once based on the belief of a higher
power to technology itself becoming the superior being. As a result, the methods in which
humanity presents itself has adapted and will continue to adapt, drastically changing humanity.
Through the use of Hamlet and 21st century allusions, readers not only come to understand the
human condition as a whole but also the effect in which societal and technological evolution has
impacted it. Shakespeare’s literary works accurately depict the fashion in which the human
condition has transformed over the last four centuries as a result of societal and technological
Humans from both the past and present struggle to understand their existence, however,
as a result of technological evolution , a shift from a God-based world to that of one immensely
based on technology occurs. Hamlet’s struggle plays a definitive role in the issues unravelling in
the play, surrounding the characters. Upon introduction, Hamlet’s humanity and psychology are
presented, unveiling the true fragility of his mind. He struggles with the concept of mortality and
with the meaning behind life and death. His internal conflict is revealed. During his first
soliloquy he states, “Oh, that this too, too sullied flesh would melt/ Thaw, and resolve itself into a
dew” (Shakespeare, 1.2. 129-130). Hamlet considers suicide but he turns to his religious values
and beliefs before making any attempts. His fear of death and the methods in which God will
judge his actions ultimately help him make an important moral decision.
Naturally, one may assume that religion still plays a large role in the modern day human
condition. Many neglect that although religion is still popular in modern day existence,
technological advances are slowly replacing these ideals. In the influential spokesman, Robert
Pepperell’s book The Post-Human Condition, humans are experiencing a shift from theological
concepts to technological concept, as he explains, “In early human history, it seemed that forces
of nature, controlled by gods, determined human existence” (1.2). Similarly, Hamlet’s fear of
God’s judgements inhibits his actions, yet this is not the case in modern society. Human
existence is no longer determined by God or nature but rather humans themselves. Pepperell
goes on to explain that “by enhancing our technological capacities, we have gained increasing
confidence in our ability to exert control over these forces and impose our will on nature” (1.2).
Humans are slowly no lon...