Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow
This is just an extraordinary passage, how Shakespeare manipulates time and weaves everyone who partakes in the play together.Macbeth: She should have died hereafter; There would have been a time for such a word: 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.
There is no more time for tomorrow, for she is dead. There are no more tomorrows. Shakespeare draws us in to the day-to-day-to-day drudgery and then thrusts us, literally, to the end of time. How cruelly effective a way to recreate the feeling that life is simply such a damn repetition forever. So too with his use of the word "yesterdays," which encourages us to think not of the past as a monolith but of all the specific past days of our own, days he asks us to recall only to remind us they carry us to the same end. Shakespeare does not say "all candles will go out" or something similar but rather "Out, out, brief Candle," because the candle will go out. It has to, so it might as well. A "walking shadow." Something of illusory permanence, illusory agency.
Shakespeare weaves us all into this tragedy. First, "all our yesterdays." Then not just Macbeth but "the poor player," the actor himself. At last the teller of the tale, the author himself. (Though this could rightly include both the player and Macbeth.) Who would bother to tell such a futile tale?
No one escapes.