Shakespeare in the Sound and the Fury

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Shakespeare in the Sound and the Fury

The "Tomorrow" soliloquy in Act V, scene v of the Shakespearean

tragedy Macbeth provides central theme and imagery for The Sound and

the Fury. Faulkner may or may not agree with this bleak, nihilistic

characterization of life, but he does examine the characterization


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 (Shakespeare 177-8).

The passage suggests man is mortal while time is immortal. Time

maintains its pace independently of man's actions; it creeps through

man-made institutions eventually leading to man's death. However,

time maintains indifference towards man. Life spans are infinitesimal

in comparison to the smallest division of time. In reality, the

significance man ascribes to human existence is false: life has no

significance. Life is merely a brief episode of strutting and

fretting, "full of sound and fury, . . . signifying nothing."

Every section of the Sound and the Fury relates to Macbeth's speech.

Each narrator presents life as "full of sound and fury," represented

in futile actions and dialogue. Benjy, Quentin, Jason, and Dilsey all

emit constant wor...

... middle of paper ...

... Faulkner's views on life, a supposed

contrast to Macbeth's. After hundreds of pages of examining

Shakespeare's passage, Faulkner concludes his work with an uplifting

transcendence of nihilism. Faulkner leaves the reader with hope, the

signification of meaning yet to come.

Works Cited

Commentary. The Sound and the Fury. Olemiss Resources

Faulkner, William. The Sound and the Fury. New York: Vintage Books,


Harold, Brent. "The Volume and Limitations of Faulkner's Fictional

Method." Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol. 11, 1975.

Irwin, John T. "A Speculative Reading of Faulkner" Contemporary

Literary Criticism, Vol. 14, 1975.

Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. New York: Washington Square Press,


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