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Brush up your Shakespeare.

PORTER: Here's a knocking indeed! If a man were

porter of hell-gate, he should have old turning

the key.

Knocking within

Knock, knock, knock! Who's there,

i' the name of Beelzebub?

(Macbeth, Act 2, Scene 3, lines 1-5)

In the previous scene, we heard a repeated knocking. The knocking frightened Macbeth and made Lady Macbeth hurry to cover up their crime. She led Macbeth away to change into nightclothes and to wash King Duncan's blood off his hands.

The knocking continues, louder and more impatient, and now we see a Porter coming to the gate, but he doesn't seem to be in much of a hurry. Perhaps that's because he is - as Lady Macbeth was at the opening of the previous scene - still a little drunk. It occurs to him that if he were the gatekeeper of hell, he'd have plenty of opportunities to turn the key. He 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.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Dec 4, 2000
Words:189
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