35 Variations on a Theme from Shakespeare
Harry Mathews

00 Source text
To be or not to be: That is the question

01 Alphabetically

02 Anagram
Note at his behest: bet on toot or quit

03 Lipogram in c, d, f, g, j, k, l, m, p, v, w, x, y, z
To be or not to be: that is the question

04 Lipogram in a
To be or not to be: this is the question

05 Lipogram in i
To be or not to be: that`s the problem

06 Lipogram in e
Almost nothing, or nothing: but which?

07 Transposition (W+7)
To becon or not becon: that is the quinsy

08 Strict palindrome
No, it`s (eu) qeht sut. Ah! te botton roebot

09 Missing letter
To be or not to be: hat is the question

10 Two missing letters
To be or not to be: at is the question

11 One letter added
To bed or not to be: that is the question

12 Negation
To be or not to be: that is not the question

13 Emphasis
To be, if you see what I mean, to be, be alive, exist, not just keep hanging around; or (and that means one or the other, no getting away from it) not to be, not be alive, not exist, to – putting it bluntly – check out, cash in your chips, head west: that (do you read me ? not “maybe this” or “maybe something else”) that is, really is, irrevocably is, the one and only inescapable, overwhelming, and totally preoccupying ultimate question.

14 Curtailing
Not to be: that is the question

15 Curtailing (different)
To be or not to be: That is

16 Double Curtailing
Not to be: that is

17 Triple contradiction
You call this life? And everything’s happening all the time?
Who’s asking?

18 Another point of view
Hamlet, quit stalling!

19 Minimal wariations
To see or not to see
To flee or not to flee
to pee or not to pee

20 Antonymy
Nothing and something: this was an answer

21 Amplification
To live forever or never to have been born is a concern that has perplexed humanity from time immemorial and still does

22 Reductive
One or the other – who knows?

23 Permutation
That is the question: to be or not to be

24 Interference
a) Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow:
That is the question
b) To be or not to be
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
the way to dusty death

25 Isomorphisms
Speaking while singing: this defines recitativo
Getting and spending we lay waste our powers

26 Synonymous
Choosing between life and death confuses me

27 Subtle insight
Shakespeare knew the answer

28 Another interference
Put out the light, and then? That is the question

29 Homoconsonantism
At a bier, a nutty boy, too, heats the queasy tone

30 Homovocalism
Lode of gold ore affirms evening’s crown

31 Homophony
Two-beer naughty beat shatters equation

32 Snowball with an irregularity
yours truly

33 Heterosyntaxism
I ask myself: is it worth it, or isn`t it?

34 In another metre
So should I be, or should I not?
This question keeps me on the trot

35 Interrogative mode
Do I really care whether I exist or not?
(We leave the reader saddled with this painful question.)

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