H English IV/Period 9
Equivocation is a term that means you are saying one thing, but meaning another. There are many historical events and sources that contain the use of equivocation. Two examples of historical events or sources would be the play Macbeth and the Gunpowder Plot. There are many similarities that can be discussed and explained. Equivocation can help to emphasize ideas in certain ways.
In Act two, scene three of Macbeth, the Porter refers to a conspirator who was involved in the Gunpowder Plot named Father Garnet. He refers to Garnet’s words when he equivocated. The words the Porter used were: “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: O, come in, equivocator.” What the Porter refers to is when Garnet equivocated when he said that the Gunpowder plot was justified.
I believe the significance of his reference was the fact that he was saying this to show the double meanings of what he is saying, which is to describe Macbeth's own choices and to try to justify those actions to himself. With this scene, it played an important role in this play because it relates Garnet doing something to please God, as Macbeth doing something to please himself.
Another example of equivocation in Macbeth is the same Act and scene. The Porter refers to alcohol being the equivocator by saying: “It provokes and unprovokes: it provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance: therefore, much drink may be said to be an equivocator with lechery: it makes him, and mars him: it sets on him and it take him off; it persuades him and disheartens him; makes him stand to and not to stand to; in conclusion, equivocates him in a sleep, and, giving him the lie, leaves him.” What the Porter means when he says this is that alcohol is an equivocator because it “provokes the desire, but takes away the...