The famous incipit of Hamlet’s monologue (III.1.57) is the only occurrence of the syntagm "to be or not to be" in all the works of William Shakespeare. Regardless of the meanings given by Shakespeare himself, the hypothesis is that the syntagm could be linked to the importance and knowledge of the English translation of the Aristotelian syntagm "einai-me einai", which was in fact translated as "to be or not to be". Although in Aristotle there is not the existential value of Hamlet’s «To be, or not to be», there is no doubt that in the English culture of the Renaissance, and in particular the origin and construction of the so-called metaphysical poetry, Aristotle was a very well-known author. Finally, the syntagm appears in Dr. Faustus by Christopher Marlowe in an interesting and complex verse.
Keywords: Aristotle, Christopher Marlowe, Metaphysical Poetry, Philip Sidney, Shakespeare’s sources, "To Be or Not to Be".