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Blog - Dolly Sen

To be or not to be disabled


I’ve taken the liberty of adapting William Shakespeare’s soliloquy for Hamlet ‘To Be or Not to Be’ to highlight the plight of disabled people under successive Tory Governments. Willie understands tragedy very well, and that is what is happening now but will it take years before it dawns on ordinary people what their inaction or apathy has done to their fellow humans.

I am no actor but here is me reading my version.

Here is the text:

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of the outrageous DWP,
Or to take arms against a society of indifference,
And by opposing end them. To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache, by a thousand suicides
That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: aye, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death is our only freedom,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there’s no respect
That the disabled are allowed to have;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of Tory governments,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud will starve,
The pangs of being despised, the law’s delay,
The insolence of Tory office, and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make

thanks to sanctions, foodbanks, and zero hour contracts,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of benefit assessment,
The undiscover’d country from whose bourn
No traveler returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
and be deemed fit to work.
Ignoring what is happening to disabled people

make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great torture
With this regard their currents wash away
thousands of disabled dead


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Richard Downes

I’ve never read shakespeare but I always seek to read Dolly. Another few minutes never wasted