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Porter at Macbeth's castle


The porter appears only once, at the opening of Act 2, Scene 3, to open the gate. At the end of the previous scene Macbeth and his wife heard the knocking, and she led him away to wash Duncan's blood off their hands. The knocking at the gate continues, and the porter appears. He's a bit drunk, and says, "Here's a knocking indeed! If a man were porter of hell-gate, he should have old turning the key" (2.3.1-3). Then, instead of turning the key and opening the gate, he describes some people he might welcome to hell. (Thomas De Quincey's essay "On the Knocking at the Gate in Macbeth" is a famous interpretation of the significance of the knocking, but De Quincey doesn't mention the porter.) [Scene Summary]

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