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  • "Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow" is the beginning of the second sentence of one of

  • the most famous soliloquies in Shakespeare's tragedy Macbeth. It takes place in the beginning

  • of the 5th scene of Act 5, during the time when the English troops, led by Malcolm and

  • Macduff, are approaching Macbeth's castle to besiege it. Macbeth, the play's protagonist,

  • is confident that he can withstand any siege from Malcolm's forces. He hears the cry of

  • a woman and reflects that there was a time when his hair would have stood on end if he

  • had heard such a cry, but he is now so full of horrors and slaughterous thoughts that

  • it can no longer startle him. Seyton then tells Macbeth of Lady Macbeth's

  • death, and Macbeth delivers this soliloquy as his response to the news. Shortly afterwards

  • he is told of the apparent movement of Birnam Wood towards Dunsinane Castle, which is actually

  • Malcolm's forces having disguised themselves with tree branches so as to disguise their

  • numbers as they approach the castle. This sets the scene for the final events of the

  • play and Macbeth's death at the hands of Macduff.

  • Analysis In Macbeth's final soliloquy the audience

  • sees his final conclusion about life: it is devoid of any meaning, full of contrived struggles.

  • Days on this earth are short, a "brief candle" and an ignorant march towards a fruitless

  • demise, "lighted fools. . . to dusty death." A person's life is so insubstantial that it

  • is comparable to an actor who fills minor roles in an absurd play. There is a struggle

  • for substance in life, the actor who "struts and frets his hour" or a playwright who tells

  • "a tale full of sound and fury" but it is contrived and senseless and will thus fade

  • into obscurity, a tale "Told by an Idiot. . . Signifying nothing" in which a "walking

  • shadow" performs "And then is heard no more". Macbeth's feelings towards Lady Macbeth in

  • this soliloquy are not as clear as the main theme. There are many opinions regarding Macbeth's

  • initial reaction when he hears that his wife is dead. Those who take the first line to

  • mean "she would have died at sometime, either now or later" usually argue that it illustrates

  • Macbeth's callous lack of concern for Lady Macbeth.

  • Macbeth said in Scene III of the same act that the battle would cheer him ever after

  • or unseat him now. Up to that time he had expected to win the battle; he was ready to

  • laugh the siege to scorn when interrupted by a woman's cry. His visionary thought may

  • have pictured the victory as restoring him to the man he once was. He pauses on the word

  • "hereafter" - two feet are missing from the meter - and realises that the time will never

  • come. Depressingly, he reflects that if it could have been, if he could have gone back,

  • there would have been time to consider that word, death, and mourn properly. Now, however,

  • since there will be no victory nor going back, and she is gone, the tomorrows creep on with

  • their insignificantly slow pace to the very end of all time.

  • In popular culture Lines from this soliloquy have been the basis

  • of numerous other fictional works. Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow is a 1953

  • short story by Kurt Vonnegut All our Yesterdays is used as the title of

  • several works The Way to Dusty Death is a 1973 novel by

  • Alistair MacLean Out, Outis a 1916 poem by Robert Frost

  • Sound and fury is the title of several works, including a novel by Faulkner and a 2000 documentary

  • about deaf children. References

  • External links Soliloquy Translation

  • Explanation of the scene

"Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow" is the beginning of the second sentence of one of

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Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow

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    Amy.Lin posted on 2016/09/25
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