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Commentary on Macbeth soliloquy Act V scene V"To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,

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Commentary on Macbeth soliloquy Act V scene V "To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, 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. " Soliloquy is a speech made by a character alone on the stage or thinks she/he is alone. Through soliloquy, the audience gains an honest and direct experience of that character's mind. In this particular soliloquy, Macbeth expresses overwhelming despair. This soliloquy encompasses the entire experience of Macbeth's kingship, short to the entire play. Imagery, time, dictions and repetition each have its constituency in shaping this important soliloquy. ...read more.


Words like "shadow," "no more," "nothing" conveys the pointless Macbeth feels his career as a king and perhaps even his entire existence. Much of the dictions used in this soliloquy are extremely depressing. Every single line is reeked with Macbeth's depression as Macbeth said life is but a pointless tale told by an "idiot", referring to himself. Imagery is crucial to all Shakespearean plays. This extraction of Macbeth is no exception. Shakespearean imagery mainly uses comparison, which includes metaphor and simile. The purpose of imagery is to create vivid pictures that deepen the dramatic effects as well as give the audience the pleasure to imagine the particulars of the play. Darkness is an important imagery in Macbeth. As most of the scenes happen at night. But when taking into account that the murder of Duncan also happens at night, darkness seems to be the archetype of evil. However, in this particular passage, darkness represented by "life is but a walking shadow," coupled with "brief candle" imply the briefness and insignificance of Macbeth's life. ...read more.


A big part of Macbeth's tragedy is that Macbeth himself realizes and recognizes the emptiness of his life. In the latter half of the soliloquy, Macbeth juxtaposes his life to a "brief candle" and a poor actor on stage that "frets" and "struts" his "brief" hours upon the stage until he is heard "no more." Clearly, Macbeth bears sardonic remarks about his brief career as the king and power. Macbeth's sarcastic remarks go to a point where he loses self-respect and self-identity for a moment when he calls himself an "idiot" and his life "signifying nothing." Many critics, including Mr. Taylor feel that this is the play's most important soliloquy and certainly one of the most famous soliloquy from all Shakespeare's plays. Although the purpose of every line in this extract is to create a sense of futility and despair, nevertheless, the extract's strength lies with the successful accomplishment of drawing sympathy from the audience by engaging them in a direct link with Macbeth as he expresses the futility of human endeavors, thus, making the Shakespearean play, Macbeth a successful tragedy. ...read more.

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A very good analysis of the soliloquy and its relevance to the whole play. Language, structure and form have been considered. Further links could be made to the rest of the play and the roles of Lady Macbeth and Macbeth and how they change.

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Marked by teacher Laura Gater 10/06/2013

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