Leaving not a rack behind


“Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.”

The Tempest. Act iv. Sc. 1.

Another famous stage metaphor of Shakespeare from The Tempest. The most remarkable visual image is the stage trapping of ‘the baseless fabric of this vision’. A cloth backdrop with pictures of cloud-capped towers, gorgeous palaces, solemn temples and the great globe itself .The pageant fades as soon as the revels are ended ,leaving “not a rack behind” .We are such stuff as dreams are made on. Our revels get ended too soon. Then our life is rounded with a sleep. Once the curtains are down we go into the oblivion of sleep.

(also included in the Shakespeare page)

Advertisements