“Murder, murder, murder!” cries Lady Macduff as the murderers come after her. Murder is a recurring theme in William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth and the Macbeth 1978 film directed by Roman Polanski. Although these murders, and many other aspects of the storyline, are similar in both the Macbeth play and the Macbeth movie, each scene is portrayed differently. The most prominent difference between the play and the movie is the second witches’ scene, which contained more material in the movie. A second difference is seen in the showcasing of Macduff’s family’s, and servants’, murders. Finally, the apparitions conjured up in the second witches’ scene are more tangibly present in the Macbeth movie. Although there are many differences between the seventeenth century Macbeth play and the 1978 Macbeth film, the most outstanding differences lie in the second witches’ scene, the scene of Macduff’s family’s murder, and in the portrayal of the apparitions from the second witches’ scene.
The second witches’ scene in the Macbeth film is the chief difference between the play and the film. The scene is longer than the original and also reflects the current news of the era by alluding to the Charles Manson ordeal. In Act IV of the play, all the witches participate in throwing ingredients into the caldron and the all say “double, double, toil and trouble; fire burn and caldron bubble.” But in the movie, only one witch is active in throwing in ingredients, while the other two say “double, double, toil and trouble; fire burn and caldron bubble” simultaneously. The youngest witch is one that does not participate in throwing in ingredients and she is also the only one that seems to have prophesizing abilities in the movie. In both the play and the movie, when Macbeth comes, the witches show him the apparitions. But in the movie, the apparitions are tangible and the scene resembles Charles Manson and his solicitation of female Nation Honor Society members to commit murder. The witches take of Macbeth’s shirt and paint a black cross on his forehead, back, and chest. They then give him a potion to drink, which did not happen in the play, and show him the three apparitions. After that, the witches sat him up and moved candles back and forth in front of his face. Each time the candles got near his face, Macbeth would scream. Before the witches left, they blindfolded Macbeth and when he finally came to, he put on his coat, which looked like a leather jacket, and got ready to leave. Someone then came and Macbeth asked him if he had seen the witches. When he said no, Macbeth grabbed the apparitions and left. Although there are many differences between the play and the movie, the second witches’ scene is definitely the most blatant.
There is also a difference in the portrayal of Macduff’s family’s murder between the play and the movie. In both mediums, Ross and Lady Macduff talk with Macduff’s son in the background, Ross leaves and a messenger enters warning...