Soliloquy’s Enterpretation In Cinematography Essay Sample

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Shakespeare, Macbeth, Soliloquy, Life, Cinema, Death, Film, Theater

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2021/01/06

Analysis of Macbeth’s soliloquy “Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow”

“Nought’s had, all’s spent, where our desire is got without content.” This line from William Shakespeare’s play “Macbeth” describes the inner world and emotional experience of its characters. Shakespeare is famous for his characters’ unmasking soliloquies through which they depict their emotions and fears. Macbeth’s soliloquy “Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow” exposures his absolute devastation and ruin, though his strength of mind is not broken. This monologue had influenced his follow-up actions, which changed a possible denouement of the play. In this essay, Macbeth’s reaction and its style will be investigated by the example of one of his main dialogues and its interpretations in cinematography.


Basically, the events that anticipate Macbeth’s soliloquy tell how the British troops have already invaded Dunsinane at the head Malcolm, Macduff and his uncle, Prince Seward. The Scottish lords join them in the rebel against Macbeth. Macbeth is a tyrant; he is no longer recognized by his nationals. From now on, Macbeth’s soul does not know peace. He becomes aware of the fact that he is forever deprived of peace, he is stabbed his dream. Macbeth committed moral murder when he had killed another. But the tragedy is not only that. One murder entails the others. The first Macbeth’s evil is not the only one: he killed not only Duncan, but the servants who were guarding the king. And then, a series of murders begins, and they are more heinous and cruel – Macbeth’s victims are his friend Banquo, Macduff’s wife and son. True, they are not killed by Macbeth’s own hands, but that is his fault. The victims’ bloodstains him too, and those who have completed the will of Macbeth, did it with a cruel indifference. He feels the burden of moral atrocities. Macbeth has already so hardened soul that unexpected news of the death of his wife gives him a disappointment – there is no time for that! Macbeth reflects on the futility of life in his monologue, because one day is always followed by another “tomorrow, and tomorrow” (Shakespeare 7), they are all the same, and so it will last until the end of time.
In the soliloquy, everything that happened yesterday was smoldering; there is no light (metaphor with a “brief candle”) (Shakespeare 13), where there is only a shadow. Macbeth sees life only in the darkness of his crime; his life is a parody, a bad “player” (Shakespeare 13), who is only waiting for the curtain to drop his “career”. His life is the story of a mad man, but the whole thing makes no sense, either for himself or for someone else. This applies not only to the common people, but also to the king, because all are equal under the death (Breuer 267).
Therefore, Macbeth comes to the most terrible tragedy for him. His strength of character is not broken; he is still a hero, but a hero with a wasted soul. Even the death of his wife is just another series of needless deaths of the insignificant people. Yes, he is full of strength and fury, but it looks like a cornered animal agony, and not as a struggle for life. Macbeth lost purpose and meaning of their existence. He destroyed everything to what he has been aspiring, he is empty. Macbeth realizes that he has remained alone among the people forever, because everyone turned against him after the offense.
However, he had a hope that the day would come when there was no pain, generated by his own actions. But countless “tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow” were only the cross path of suffering that led to the fatal moment when death occurred, and nothing more could be corrected. He committed the crime, because he was assured that if he won the throne, it would make his life beautiful. But it turned out that he burned himself, and now there was only a pathetic being, he burned down as a candle. Therefore, his whole life has lost meaning, has become a ghostly existence, and he compares himself to a player who has been poseuring on the stage. And then, the player disappears and nothing remains of the man whose role he has played. He is not touched by the news about his wife’s death (Breuer 259).

Firstly, there is a large amount of different screen versions of William Shakespeare’s tragedy. The first screen adaptation to be discussed is a classic American screening by Orson Welles (1948) produced by Richard Wilson. The director of the film plays the role of Macbeth himself. The film is very similar to the original Shakespeare’s play; it is a black-and-white picture; that is why the scenes become more intense and deep. The attention is paid only to the protagonist and his story, and not to the outwards things. A lack of decorations gives to this screening a play-like air. The characters of Welles’ film do not deviate from the original text. Macbeth’s film dialogue “Tomorrow” is the same as the original soliloquy. The actor does not change the words and reads his speech very classical. During his speech, Macbeth disappears from the screen. The only thing that is shown to the spectator is a dark and gloomy sky with heavy clouds. The actor delivers his speech in a very macabre way he emphasizes the words “out, shadow and nothing”. These words can be described as the thematic words of this soliloquy. Welles’ Macbeth is very traditional; he is a mad man, who has met his madness with the outspread hands. The fact that the protagonist’s face is substituted by the image of the dark sky is not occasional. The sky is a metaphor of his inner world, it is restless and heavy.
However, the adaptation of “Macbeth” screened by Roman Polanski in 1971 differs from the 1948 version in various ways. Firstly, it is a Technicolor film. Jon Finch plays the main role of Macbeth. Roman Polanski edited the plot of Shakespeare’s tragedy. Moreover, “Playboy” was a producer company of this screening, and it can be stated that this affected some details of the film. For example, the witches were naked as well Lady Macbeth during her madness scene (Mullin 332). However, the protagonist is depicted according to Shakespeare’s canon. During the “Tomorrow” monologue, Macbeth’s first lines (before the phrase “Out, out brief candle!”) sound like a stream of consciousness. He thinks to himself while going downstairs. The scene with the stairs is another metaphor of his inner state: Macbeth deepens in his gloomy mood and avoids the world around. But when Macbeth sees the dead body, he speaks the line “Out, out brief candle!” aloud, as if trying not to see the terrifying picture of his wife’s dead body. During his speech, Macbeth does not emphasize the exact words, as Welles’ Macbeth did. The character of Jon Finch sounds rather indifferently than excitingly. He does not look worried about the things around him, his air is gloomy, but he is concentrated on his stream of consciousness, he pronounces his speech slowly, as if procrastinating the moment of a possible defeat and death.
The last but not the least is an adaptation of “Macbeth” of 1978 called “A Performance of Macbeth”, directed by Philip Casson. Ian McKellen plays the role of Macbeth. The words of the play are not changed during the screening. This film adaptation of Macbeth’s soliloquy sounds as the most indifferent one. McKellen’s Macbeth does not show any emotion when he receives the new about his wife’s death. He only raises his eyebrow and looks at the camera as if asking “Why could not she wait?” However, here, Macbeth emphasizes the phrase “Life’s but a walking shadow” (Shakespeare 14). His speech sounds with a contempt to the whole world; he emphasizes a negative word “idiot”. However, he pays the special attention to a word “nothing”, he prolongs it in a way: “nothing”. The world around him is nothing; this figure of Macbeth looks like he is indifferent even to his inner tragedy.


In conclusion, I can say that the best performance was the performance of Macbeth by Orson Welles. I consider him as the most true-to-like Shakespeare’s character, though the spectator cannot even see him during his soliloquy “Tomorrow”. The scene with the gloomy sky is very striking, it reveals Macbeth’s inner world even better than the actor’s play. Welles could catch the essence of the soliloquy even without playing him on camera; his voice and the picture of the sky fulfill the macabre air of the events. There is a feel of pain in his voice, he grieves over his wife and the acts he has committed. However, the adaptations of Macbeth by Jon Finch and Ian McKellen can be considered as one of the most charismatic ones. Finch’s Macbeth is more philosophical, while McKellen’s adaptation looks more creative and, for me, depicts McKellen’s viewpoint of Macbeth’s character.

Works cited

Breuer, Horst. “Disintegration Of Time In Macbeth's Soliloquy 'Tomorrow, And Tomorrow,
And Tomorrow'.” Modern Language Review 71.2 (1976): 256-271. 
Mullin, Michael. “Macbeth On Film.” Literature Film Quarterly 1.4 (1973): 332. 
Shakespeare, William. “Macbeth”. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015: Act V, Sc. 5, ll, 7-28.

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