Tales of Sound and Fury

Just in time for Halloween, we wanted to call attention to Macbeth Act 5, Scene 5 – specifically, the legendary “tale of sound and fury” monologue spoken by Macbeth after the death of his wife.

In a play of such menace and brutality, Macbeth’s speech here emerges as a cri de coeur – a railing from a broken heart, however full of villainy. Long sustained by ambition and lust for power, Macbeth finds he is only “a poor player” in the very drama that he and Lady Macbeth thought they could control.

In a season full of ghost stories, it seems appropriate to highlight one of the most chilling tales of sound and fury ever told! But for those actors perhaps too young to fully grasp the horror of Macbeth, you can discuss the theatrical imagery used throughout the monologue. (For example, why would Shakespeare have used such metaphors to convey Macbeth’s bitterness and despair?) As ever when discussing Shakespeare’s tragedies with young people, it will also be useful to highlight a counterpoint to the speech – foregrounding, that is, the necessity of keeping bright the very flame of hope that Macbeth has extinguished.