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In Act 5, Scene 5, there is "A cry within of women." Macbeth asks, "What is that noise?" and his attendant Seyton replies, "It is the cry of women, my good lord." Seyton exits to see what has happened. Then Macbeth begins a soliloquy:
I had almost forgot the taste of fears.
The time has been my senses would have cooled
To hear a night-shriek, and my fell of hair
Would at a dismal treatise rouse and stir
As life were in 't. I have supped full with horrors.
Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts,
Cannot once start me.
Seyton returns and tells him:
The Queen, my lord, is dead.
Seyton probably exits, although the stage directions do not say so, and Macbeth continues his soliloquy with one of Shakespeare's most famous passages:
She should have died hereafter.
There would have been a time for such a word.
Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow
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. Out, out, brief candle!
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,
The fact that Macbeth says he had almost forgot the taste of fears shows plainly that the cry of women did arouse fear in him and that he is afraid of death. He does not like to admit that he is frightened, but he is all alone, with an overwhelming army advancing against him, and he is obviously losing his morale.
William Faulkner used a line from Macbeth's soliloquy in the title of one of his best novels, The Sound and the Fury.
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