I am trying to find the quote about "man struts and frets his petty place on the stage" by William Shakespeare.  Reflective about society, principle etc.  (That is not a verbatim quote.) Thanks!

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mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This line is from a passage in Shakespeare's "Macbeth."  Macbeth has just been informed of his wife's death in Act V, Scene 5:

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,/Signifying nothing.  

Macbeth reflects upon the temporality of life itself and its insignificance in the universal scheme.  Also of note are the lines "It is a tale/Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,/ Signifying nothing."  William Faulkner's novel, "The Sound and the Fury" is narrated in the first part by thirty-three-year-old Benjy Compson, who is mentally disabled.

dymatsuoka's profile pic

dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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I believe the quote you are looking for is from the play Macbeth, Act V, Scene v, lines 19 -28.  It reads,

"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".

This quote is part of Macbeth's famous soliloquy which is given immediately after he learns that his wife is dead.  In it, Macbeth muses on the futility of life and the inevitibility of death.

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