Give me liberty or give me death!
“To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing, end them?”
-William Shakespeare, Hamlet
Patrick Henry would take the latter. He’d rather take arms (literally) and oppose the injustices he sees in British rule than sit idle and do nothing. Because either way you’re dying. You probably die physically if you decide to stand up and oppose. But even worse is the death of the soul that comes from just letting stuff happen to you and choosing not to fight it.
As Kendrick Lamar says in the intro to his song “Hiiipower”:
The sky is falling, the wind is calling. Stand for something or die in the morning.
At least if you decide to fight, you’re fighting for something you believe in. For Henry, it’s the moral and physical liberty from British occupation.
“To be or not to be,” “Give me liberty or give me death,” “Stand for something or die in the morning.” At the core, they all mean the same thing. And it’s a question that every single human faces every single day of their lives.
To help improve the meaning of these lyrics, visit “Speech to the Second Virginia Convention” by Patrick Henry and leave a comment on the lyrics box