I think it may be useful both to the actor and to the teacher to know that anyone familiar with mediaeval religious drama is likely to recognize a correspondence between the vocabulary of this scene and that of a similar playlet within the English Miracle Cycles, 'The Harrowing of Hell'. If this story has become unfamiliar, this is partly because it is an aspect of Christian belief which theologians of the Reformation distorted, and partly because modern Anglican opinion prefers to ignore it. Yet I think it is the story which provided Shakespeare with his model for the particular form in which he chose to cast Act II, scene iii, of Macbeth, and possibly for the playas a whole. 1
The first six and the last four verses of Psalm xxiv are virtually separate. It is the latter section which bears directly upon the liturgical ceremonies.