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What does this excerpt from Macbeth say about illusion? "Tomorrow, and...

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manu11 | Student, Grade 10 | eNoter

Posted October 15, 2012 at 2:19 AM via web

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What does this excerpt from Macbeth say about illusion?

"Tomorrow, and tomorrow..."

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
Signifying nothing.
 — Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 5)

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durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 15, 2012 at 8:59 AM (Answer #1)

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Illusion is all about things not being as they appear to be - somethingwhich has been a major theme throughout Macbeth

Fair is foul... 

This particular quote, when Macbeth is feeling the pressure, is all about illusion and its impact mainly, on Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Visual images abound, non less so in this quote where life is compared to  

a brief candle,

indicating his desperation on learning of his wife's death.Everything is meaninglessness and the reader is left in no doubt as to Macbeth's mood:

the existential bleakness

Life is personified as a walking shadow that

struts and frets

The illusion is continues as Macbeth suggests it is just a 'tale:'

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury

Signifying nothing

Macbeth feels that life is now futile and reality may now be dawning on him until he is recaptured by the moment and gets back to the task at hand - he is invincible after all!

 The e notes study guide and questions will help you understand the illusion created in Macbeth and the significance of this quote.  

 

 

 

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