M.Barnard Eldershaw Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow Title analysis
The title of M. Barnard Eldershaw’s Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow is a (perhaps unintentional?) nod to Shakespeare’s Macbeth. This section of the famous play can be likened to the scene in which Eldershaw describes the burning of Sydney. Here Macbeth is lamenting the inevitability of death, and how every day is pushing ignorant mortals closer to the end.
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
Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 5, lines 15-28)
This calls to mind Eldershaw’s burning of Sydney in its overwhelming hopelessness. Like Macbeth, there is nothing the narrator can do to prevent death, perhaps not their own in this case, but the death of a city. It is a brutal death and Eldershaw describes it from the perspective of one observing from afar. This mirrors Macbeth’s notion that life is a player that “frets his hour upon the stage”. The burning city is displaying the end of its life in a dramatic final show. Eldershaw describes “curtains of fire”, “scenes” and “spectacles”, words that frame the fire as a great and terrible performance.
Macbeth also utters the famous line “out, out, brief candle”, referring to life, but in the context of Eldershaw’s novel, both announces the end of Sydney, as well as pleads with the fire to cease its destruction, as the fire too, will inevitably die.
It is easy to imagine either or both of the writers from the team that writes as Eldershaw were inspired by this passage, for as soon as I heard the title of the novel I found it impossible to separate the two passages.
Feature Image: Kimgauge on Deviant Art https://www.deviantart.com/kimgauge/art/The-Burning-of-Sydney-398246743
Image: London Theater https://www.londontheatre1.com/theatre-news/the-tragedy-of-macbeth-shakespeare-for-the-game-of-thrones-generation/