The funny thing about the “To be or not to be” speech (which is the one Basil is supposed to be giving here) is that it’s too iconic. In my Shakespeare class we discussed how it can be difficult to understand this speech as both an actor and as a reader/viewer because it’s so famous, it’s lost its meaning. In a way “to be” has come to stand as an icon for the entire play. However, Oscar Wilde once said that “there are as many Hamlet’s as there are melancholies”. Which I take to mean that you have to take your own experience with melancholy to your reading of Hamlet and then Hamlet becomes more legible because he is part of you.
Basil + Gideon is an ongoing narrative comic, if this is your first time reading check out the first installment here!