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How do I analyze this quote from Macbeth? "Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor...
How do I analyze this quote from Macbeth?
"Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing." Act 5, Scene 5
1) What is the first image Macbeth likens "Life" to in this quote?
2)What does Macbeth seem to believe in regards to the meaning of life?
1 Answer | add yours
Middle School Teacher
Macbeth likens “life” to a “walking shadow.”
At this point in the play, Macbeth is quite dejected. He has just learned that his wife has killed herself. His response to her death is rumination on just what life is.
Everything seems to be against Macbeth at this point. His men are deserting him. Malcolm’s army is coming for him. There is a general sense of unrest and disappointment about him. He realizes that he does not have many options left. In a way, this speech is his acknowledgement that he is not going to live much longer either.
She should have died hereafter;
There would have been a time for such a word.(20)
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time … (Act 5, Scene 5)
A shadow has no substance. It is a poor substitute for the real thing. At this point, Macbeth feels this way about life. He could have had so much and done so much. Instead, he was left at the end with a wispy nothing.
It is clear that Macbeth is worried about his legacy. He frets over the concept of “tomorrow” and describes life as a “poor player” who has only his hour upon the stage. Everything he hoped to accomplish, and his hopes for his line, have come to nothing.
He needs to accept this, but he also uses it as a justification of his own impending suicide of sorts. He will fight to the death, regardless of how foolish his actions are. He refuses to admit to himself that it’s over, and he wants to go out in a blaze of glory.
Posted by litteacher8 on October 22, 2013 at 3:50 PM (Answer #1)
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