Essay on Comedic Relief within Macbeth

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The comedic relief the porter gives illustrates three different facets of Macbeth in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The Porter opens the door of comedic relief by also opening the door to the three men who knock on Macbeth’s door. “ ‘Knock. Knock. Who's there?’ In the Harrowing of Hell scenes of English mystery plays, the answer to that question was no joke. The Harrowing marks the climax of the battle between God and Satan for the fate of humanity.” (Schreyer) In fact the Harrowing reveals the beginning of Macbeth’s struggle between good and evil. The introduction of evil comes upon Macbeth when he encounters the Wyrd sisters, who tell Macbeth his impending fate. This encounter leads him from a life of glory and fame into a …show more content…
Three different types of men knock on Macbeth’s door to show these three facets. They include a farmer, an equivocator, and a tailor. The door that the Porter “imaginatively guards” is the “comic gate of hell.”(BattenHouse) It obtains this title by introducing both comedy and foreshadowing tragedy that leads Macbeth to hell. The first man who knocks upon Macbeth’s door is the farmer, who the Porter recognizes as Beelzebub, the chief lieutenant of Lucifer. The Porter’s misnomer of calling the farmer Beelzebub shows that Macbeth is also Beelzebub. The portrayal of Macbeth as Beelzebub foreshadows the evil person into which he develops. By subtly accusing the farmer of being Beelzebub “The Porter bridges us from one moment of tragedy to another, never letting us escape the implications of a murderous language and action of inspired earthy foolery. ”(Rosenburg) Throughout the entire comedic scene the Porter drops subtle hints at the audience’s feet, which lead them to the conclusion that each man who knocks upon Macbeth’s door is, in fact, Macbeth. The usual portrayal of a farmer is a hardworking man who tediously tends to his fields or cattle, however this man does not represent the normal qualities of a farmer. One can infer that the farmer hangs himself because, instead of receiving a plentiful harvest that he anticipates, he receives very little. The story of this farmer perfectly parallels Macbeth’s experiences throughout the story. In a

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