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 words and demeanor of frustration and anger, all
accomplishing nothing. Each character also approaches the inescapable
concept of time from a different angle. Essentially, each section of
the work addresses Macbeth's nihilism from a contrasting perspective.
Benjy is an idiot by definition, a human with such a low IQ that he
cannot sustain life on his own. His idiocy liberates him from time
constraints. Benjy cannot distinguish the present from the past,
memory from current action, illusions from realities. In the present
time when his section elapses, Benjy believes he perceives his sister
Caddy who has left nearly fifteen years prior. Benjy's life lies on a
foundation of misconception; he relies on others (Versh, T.P., and
Luster) to sustain its existence. Thus, Benjy is a quintessential
example of the "poor player" Macbeth describes. Benjy basks in a
brief life of complete insignificance and then "is heard no more."
Furthermore, Benjy's life is full of sound and fury: he moans
incessantly - sound. Benjy moans in remembrance, in frustration, in
anger, in hunger; he moans for everything - fury. Even Benjy's
bellowing, the greatest attempt he...