In Thomas De Quincey's 1823 essay "On the Knocking at the Gate in Macbeth", he describes the effect of the knocking at the gate (Macbeth, Act II, Scene 3) on him when he was a boy: "it [the knocking] reflected back upon the murderer a peculiar awfulness...". What does he mean by this? Does he admit feeling sympathy for Macbeth?

Here is the paragraph in question:

From my boyish days I had always felt a great perplexity on one point in Macbeth. It was this: the knocking at the gate, which succeeds to the murder of Duncan, produced to my feelings an effect for which I never could account. The effect was, that it reflected back upon the murderer a peculiar awfulness and a depth of solemnity; yet, however obstinately I endeavoured with my understanding to comprehend this, for many years I never could see why it should produce such an effect.

  • This article is one of the best critical pieces on Macbeth. I expected some ideas! – BeatsMe Aug 24 '19 at 13:16

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