It's from Macbeth.

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
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**!

Does it mean, to blow off the candle? But, what is a brief candle?

1 Answer 1


You might have noticed that Shakespeare is using a lot of time references - tomorrow (x3), pace, day (x2), time, yesterdays - and then "death". So the candle is set up as a symbol of time passing. "brief" of course means "lasting only a short period of time". And we blow "out" a candle (not blow off). So life - like a candle - does not last a long time before it goes "out".

  • Next up: Out, out damn spot! :) Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 1:42
  • That one's easy: "Bad dog!"
    – nxx
    Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 1:43

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