Listen on Spotify: To be or not to be performed by Sir John Gielgud
Interpretations of this speech place the focus on life versus death or action versus inaction. Parallels have been drawn between Hamlet and existentialism. Kierkegaard maintained that an individual is responsible for giving their own life meaning. In part, this is the journey Celie must undertake, to raise herself above her circumstances and to attain meaning and freedom.
Sophia turns away when this happens not just because the baby looks like Eleanor's father, the man who originally enslaved her, but also because the baby is the third generation of the Major's family. Before the abolition of slavery, old slave laws declared that slaves were not able to acquit themselves until the third generation had died.