The Corner

Politics & Policy

No, It’s Shakespeare

I am not in any real mood to defend Ted Cruz, who has disgraced himself recently, and whose reasons for opposing the conviction of former President Trump are perhaps the most transparently malleable of anyone serving in the Senate, but facts are facts, irrespective of to whom they attach, and I am therefore obliged to point out that the journalists are at it again:

Only in the mainstream press does one encounter this particular combination of condescension and ignorance. Cruz is right. The phrase “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” comes from Act 5 of Macbeth, in the famous “To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow” soliloquy:

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 is 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.

Faulkner did indeed use the term. But he took it from Shakespeare — as, for that matter, did the punk band Youth Brigade. If one is going to dunk, one needs at least to know where the hoop is.


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