English Literature- Macbeth

Triune imagery Things appearing in threes
‘Who is there? In the name of Beelzebub?’ Here, the porter should have said ‘in the name of my master’, or possibly ‘in the name of Macbeth’. But the porter unknowingly compares Macbeth with the Devil, and after Macbeth has just killed Duncan, he has become a devil.
‘Faith, here’s an equivocator that could swear in both the scales against either scale, who committed treason enough for God’s sake, yet could not equivocate to heaven.’ The porter references Father Garnet, the main conspirator at the heart of the Gunpowder Plot in 1606. Garnet wrote a book telling English Catholics how to twist the truth through the use of equivocation and ambiguous meaning to avoid the law without committing the sin of lying. Garnet was sentenced to death soon after. Here the porter says Garnet lied under oath but found he could not lie to God, and so now he’s going to Hell for perjury.
Links between the porter’s soliloquy and ‘The Harrowing of Hell.’ The porter refers to himself as the ‘porter of Hell gate.’ The Harrowing of Hell was a short play enacted throughout Britain during the 14th-16th centuries, which told the story of how Christ came to Hell to save the souls who had been taken before His time. Hell was depicted as a castle and its gate was guarded by a janitor or a porter. The arrival of Christ, demanding the release of all the souls captured by Lucifer, was heralded by a tremendous knocking at the gate and the blast of a trumpet. Lady Macbeth first hears the knocking at the South Gate and once she is ‘roused’ by Macduff upon his discovery of the murdered king, she describes the knocking she pretends has woken her as a ‘hideous trumpet.’
‘I’ll devil-porter it no further: I had thought to have let in some of all professions that go the primrose way to the everlasting bonfire.’ -The Porter, Act 2 Scene 3 Another reference to The Harrowing of Hell. The porter is the demon who opens the gate of Hell under the instruction of the Devil- portrayed by Macbeth here. And the one who is knocking at the gate the same way Christ did, is Macduff. This foreshadows the rest of the play, as just like Christ left Heaven and came to the Gates of Hell to take back the lost souls from Lucifer, Macduff will leave England to return to Scotland and save the country from the ruin Macbeth’s reign will bring it to. This line delivered by the porter points to the punishment of evil doers and signals the coming of a time of salvation.

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