As I was listening to an audio book of the play “Macbeth”, my ears were perked up by a familiar name of a character that Macbeth happened to be talking to near the end of the play. It was interesting, Macbeth was boasting about how fearless and indestructible he will be in the upcoming battle, when all of a sudden I hear him call for “Satan!” I paused first and took a double take, then I rewound the audio just to make clear of what I have just heard. Low and behold, the name was loud and clear. It was the correct pronunciation of one the devil’s names… Satan!
Just for reassurance I decided to put my trust in the ancient script by checking the spelling of this character’s name. The name of the character was spelled “Seyton” but was pronounced the same way as “Satan.” At first I was then relieved, but at the same time intrigued. I’ll tell you why.
Picture yourself at this play, and Macbeth unexpectedly calls for “Seyton”. You’re then probably imagining a red-faced demon with horns, hooves, a pointed tail and a giant pitchfork. Instead you get a normal servant of Macbeth ready to aid him. I’m sure that was on everybody’s heads when they first heard the name of that character. It was on mine. Very humorous Bill Shakespeare! Well played!
After finishing the play, I decided to do some research on the name “Seyton” just to see if it had any meaning, or even a subtle connection to the devil-ish name “Satan.” To my surprise, after hours upon hours, my research seemed to be fruitless, because I could not find the origin of the name nor it’s meaning. This baffled me, because it was a name mentioned in “Macbeth” and “Macbeth” alone. It was strictly a Shakespearean name that had no ground to stand on for it’s whereabouts, other than the pronunciation being related to the name “Satan.”
Then it hit me. Shakespeare is all about puns and double meanings. He made up the majority of his words for Heaven’s sake! Could he have possible done the same thing with this name?
Let’s look at the facts found in the script shall we. In Macbeth’s dire need for aid as he is about to meet his Maker, does he call upon He who created life? No! He calls for Seyton! A character that only appears once and has five simple lines.
Macbeth calls him not once or twice, but three times before Seyton finally responds, “What is your gracious pleasure?” It’s almost like calling for Beetlejuice three times to wreak havoc in all of Scotland!
With Seyton working in threes, of which number is the “witching hour”, it makes you wonder if Seyton is an attendant to Macbeth or an “Advisory to Mankind”?
You be the judge.
When Macbeth asks Seyton for his armor, Seyton says, “‘Tis not needed yet.” As we all know, Macbeth perhaps wanted “The Armor of God”(Ephesians 6:11) “…to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Seyton was delaying his believed redemption.
Seyton’s last words were discouraging news regarding The Lady Macbeth’s mysterious death. It is an all time low for the King to hear and bare!
Well I guess the devil is in the details! How convenient!
Could Seyton be… oh I don’t know… SATAN!!!