“'Tis all one, I say, ne'er to have been born and to be dead, and better far is death than life with misery. For the dead feel no sorrow any more and know no grief; but he who has known prosperity and has fallen on evil days feels his spirit straying from the scene of former joys.”
I don't know why this quote sits so in my heart. Perhaps I watch too much of Hamlet that I'm somehow infected with his melancholy.
I love Andromache. She's a fine woman. When she weeps about her misery and wishes for death, I cannot bear it. I read truth in her words, that in respect of pain, death is so much more painless than life. I cannot help thinking about what Hamlet says in one of his great monologues:
“And by a sleep to say we end the heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to. 'Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished.”
When we are sad, it's so easy for us to think that death is far better. “To die; to sleep.” And about not being born, doesn't the book of Ecclesiates from the Bible say as much, 'it's better the dead than the living, but better still the ones that not yet born'?
And yet, when we are happy, and in sober mind, is there anything we want better than to stay so – happily alive?