Monday, January 2, 2012

Suburbs of Our Discontent

Happy New Year! I Resolve to Regret NOTHING.

Thinking about resolutions for 2012, here's what I came up with: Regret sucks. That feeling of making the wrong decision, wishing you could turn back time, blah, blah, blah. It all sucks. That and guilt. Macbeth's sad poetry after hearing of his wife's death gets a lot of attention, but no one ever talks about the theme of regret here. Let's take a look:

"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."

At first, Macbeth is all "shoulda coulda woulda" about his wife's fate (if only I hadn't been all crazy about this Scottish King business!). Maybe she could have died a natural death in the future? Maybe he could have properly mourned her like a proper husband? But then he ends this self-flagellation by suggesting that our lives are totally out of our control and completely meaningless anyway. Macbeth is being annoyingly passive here. Remember how the Mrs. had such a hard time with this tendency of his?

Yeah, I know there's a lot of "major themes" in Macbeth. But I'm telling you: This is the soliloquy of man overwhelmed by a shit show of regret.

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