What does this Macbeth sentence mean: 'ife is a poor player'?

For those of you who have read Macbeth, could you explain what "life is a poor player"or “life as a poor player” could actually mean?I have to make a 350 word essay on that and I don’t even know what it meens.

To complete the quotation:

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

As you probably know, Shakespeare was both a dramatist and an actor and there are many references in his plays comparing life with theatre and humans with actors or players (those who perform plays).
At the same time you have to bear in mind that Macbeth is a play about ambition. Macbeth driven by his own desire for power and encouraged by his wife, commits murder in order to become King but inside him there is the cynical feeling that it’s simply not worth the effort because you can achieve so little in life. The quotation above is very pessimistic because it reminds you that life is short, however hard you try to impress others, you will never succeed and when you are dead, you will be forgotten.

Life’s a poor player tells us quite simply that life seen as a character in a play is like a poor actor who makes a lot of noise on stage and thinks he is very important but when you leave the theatre you will have forgotten who he was. In literary terms it is a good example of a metaphor because life is a poor player and not life is like a poor player.
Hope these comments help and good luck with your essay.


thank you very much for the answer.It’s really helpful. :smiley:

I should read shakespeare, if do, would you help me
construe the essence of it all?

It’d be wonderful to complement my study of the language.

[color=blue]P.S: is there a better word I can use instead of " complement"?