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Selasa, Oktober 04, 2011

Notes & Questions on Life's Brief Candle

This post is for PMR Candidates 2011 as this is going to be the last year we're studying this poem.

About Life's Brief Candle
MacBeth sees life as very brief and short-lived like a candle. He does not look forward to 'tomorrow' and finds life moving so slowly until death comes, which can happen any time. To him life is brief and meaningless. It is unreal like a shadow, like a poor player (actor) who nobody pays attention to when he finishes his part. Life has not given MacBeth any contentment and he wishes to die quickly like the candle.

Figurative Language in this Poem

In the poem, Life’s Brief Candle, life is compared to a walking shadow. This metaphor suggests that life is as unreal as a shadow. It has no substance, it is not permanent and it comes and go.

Life here is also called “brief candle”, “poor player” and a “tale” told by a madman. All three are metaphors which compare life to these things by saying that life is each.

Life is personified as an actor on stage. He is there to play a part for a short while and then he is gone. On the other hand, time is described as a person moving slowly, creeping and taking small steps.

Special expressions
There are special expressions in this poem to describe things vividly to convey certain ideas and feelings, for example:
  • petty pace : time moves very, very slowly; conveys a sense of frustration and impatience.
  • the last syllable of recorded time: the end of time as we know it; history written down.
  • the way to dusty death : to death.
  • dusty death : death is said to be dusty because when we die, our body turns to dust; conveys a sense of meaninglessness.
  • walking shadow : conveys the idea that life has no real substance or meaning.
  • frets his hour upon the stage : the reality of the character played by the actor lasts only for that short period while he is on stage; all the passion he puts into his role means nothing after the short period.
  • a tale/told by an idiot : life is as meaningless as the nonsensical stories which an idiot might tell.
  • full of sound and fury : a lot of drama, passion and noise, which really amount to nothing because life is not real.
- petty pace
- dusty death

Here's a compilation of questions on Life's Brief Candle. Good Luck!
Notes & Questions on Life's Brief Candle

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