Comparing the Opening and Witches Scenes in Macbeth
We watched two different versions of Macbeth. One was the BBC
Shakespeare and the other one was a production called Middle English!
While both productions told the story of the original play by William
Shakespeare they were different in a number of ways.
The BBC Shakespeare presents a traditional version of Macbeth. The
director starts with a long shot of a bleak, empty landscape. As the
camera zooms in it starts to focus on a granite platform with three
objects lying on top. The rock-like platform is bathed in swirling
mists and there is a greyish lighting used with occasional flashes of
light to represent lighting. There are also loud percussion noises to
represent thunder. This is because in Shakespeare's play the opening
scene has stage directions for a storm and the first lines spoken by
the witches also support this idea "When shall we three meet again in
thunder, lighting, or in rain. As the camera goes in for a close up
the mysterious shapes begin to move. Along with their slow movements
they start to unfold and to rise and the music increases in volume and
pitch as if reflecting the movement of the shapes.
It soon becomes clear that these bundles of rags are in fact women.
They are the weird sisters or witches in the play and they are shown
in this version as old and ugly. The director has chosen to present
them as unattractive and menacing and everything about this scene is
threatening and ugly and makes the audience feel uncomfortable impact
on the audience. The music is like funeral music loud and sad. The
witches are old and ugly and dressed from head and faces are wrinkle
and encrusted with dirt and warts. Their nails are yellowed and
repulsive. Everything about them including their voices is aimed at
making the audience feel hostile towards them.
They look, sound and are evil. They also create a sense of confusion
as they speak in riddles:
"When the hurly-burly’s done"
"When the battles lost and won"
The audience don't know at the start what this mean"^, How can a
battle be lost and won? It becomes clear later that Macbeth has won a
great battle against the witches when he is tempted to kill King
Duncan. This battle he loses. The witches also confuse the audience
when they say
"Fair is foul and foul is fair
Hover though the fog and filthy air.
Putting two words that are opposites side by side is an oxymoron. The
effect of this on the audience is to confuse them and make them feel
that things aren't right. These lines also refer to one of the themes
in the play-the idea that not every...