Out, Out— Questions and Answers
by Robert Frost

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What is the allusion to Macbeth in the title of "Out, Out-" by Robert Frost?

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Robert Frost's poem "Out, Out-" alludes to Macbeth's soliloquy in Act Five, Scene 5 of the play Macbeth. In Macbeth's soliloquy, he comments on the death of his wife and analyzes how insignificant our lives are in the grand scheme of the mysterious universe. Macbeth says,

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. (Shakespeare, 5.5.23-28)

Macbeth mentions that his wife was bound to die someday and compares one's existence to a "poor player," who struts around on stage for an hour before he is heard from no more. Macbeth goes on to say that life is void of meaning and compares it to a "tale told by an idiot." Macbeth's nihilist, absurd view of life is a result of his hopeless perspective of his future.

Robert Frost's poem is about a young man, who gets distracted by his sister's call for supper and accidentally cuts his...

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