This soliloquy offers the audience his view on the meaninglessness of life. In the first few lines, Macbeth realizes that his wife’s death is related to how their desire for power ultimately corrupted them as human beings. In context, Macbeth already identified his tragic flaw, which is his desire for power, but chose to pursue his own “way to dusty death” and therefore choose to keep fighting not for his life, but for his own morals, no matter how corrupt they appear to be. Macbeth expresses no grief or sadness over his wife’s death since he knew that this would eventually happen. His apathy indicates how he views life, in general, as nothing “but a walking shadow, a poor player”, who will eventually be “heard no more”. Thus, this “brief candle”, or his dimming glow of candlelight, will soon be extinguished by his own appetite for power.
This clip offers a more modern depiction of Macbeth’s soliloquy: