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.
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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