What are the 4 things to which Macbeth compares life?

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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After learning about his wife's death in act 5, scene 5, Macbeth elaborates and laments on life's meaningless nature by comparing one's existence to a brief candle, a walking shadow, a poor player, and a tale told by an idiot in his famous speech. Each of Macbeth's metaphors for life signifies its fleeting nature, lack of substance, and meaninglessness.

By comparing life to a brief candle, Macbeth emphasizes the ephemeral, temporary span of life. His words conjure images of wax slowly melting as a candle...

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