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Comparing William Shakespeare's Macbeth Productions Essay

3830 words - 15 pages

Comparing William Shakespeare's Macbeth Productions

For the purpose of this assignment I shall compare and contrast act 1
scene 1 and the scene surrounding the murder of King Duncan in the
play 'Macbeth' as presented in the BBC production and Roman Polanski's
production.

The Roman Polanski's version of Macbeth opens with a shot of a beach,
with a calm blue sea lapping against the shiny sand, and a red
sunrise. The red sky suggesting blood or evil turns slowly to blue
suggesting coldness. This scene is filmed on location. It appears to
be early morning, the beach is long and distance with little sign of
any life, suggesting isolation. The incidental music playing is one
which is rather ominous; this music is slowly faded out until there is
utter silence periodically interrupted by the noise of seagulls. We
are then startled by an object which turns out to be an old warped
stick used by one of the witches.

The witches used in this scene are very stereotypical witches, ugly,
dressed in rags. It is not hard to tell that these people are evil.
The witches are disfigured and wear dark clothes meaning evil as
people think outer appearance mirrors inner thoughts. The three
witches appear to be a sequential generation with the grandmother,
mother and child. The witches' acting seems really realistic compared
to other productions, due to their more natural behavior.

The oldest witch scrapes a circle in the sand with the stick. The two
younger witches start digging a hole in the sand where the circle was
drawn with their hands. The camera cuts to seagulls for a split
second, when the camera has returned the hole has been dug. The three
witches put a severed arm-and-hand, with a knife in the hand, and a
noose in the hole. These three items are very symbolic in terms of the
play. The knife or dagger, which was used to kill the king, the hand
which was used to represent Macbeth's hand, as all these murders were
at the hands of Macbeth. The noose is because Macbeth's actions were
what lead to his death. The noose also appears through out the play in
different scenes hidden as other objects.

After they have added all these items to the shallow pit the three
witches then cover this pit with wet sand. They then pour what looks
like blood over the covered pit from a clay pot and spit three times
suggesting dirtiness and makes them seem utterly disgusting. These
actions are very prophetical of what is to follow in the play. The
three witches then say the last line in the scene first.

"Fair is foul and foul is fair"

This is very relevant though out the play, as Lady Macbeth is called
'fair' when she is foul and so is Macbeth. The play is somewhat based
on this idea I think. This phrase suggests what may seem nice and
friendly maybe the complete opposite, equally what may seem foul...

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