• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Compare the written text of act 1 scenes 1 and 3 of Shakespeare's 'Macbeth' with Roman Polanski's film version. Analyse and comment on the effect of the film techniques used, and their impact on audience, in the portrayal of the witches.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Adam Bowen Compare the written text of act 1 scenes 1 and 3 of Shakespeare's 'Macbeth' with Roman Polanski's film version. Analyse and comment on the effect of the film techniques used, and their impact on audience, in the portrayal of the witches. The witches are the first characters the audience meet at the beginning of 'Macbeth' in Act 1 scene 1 and they set the mood for the rest of the play. Today witches are seen as bizarre but when Shakespeare was writing his plays people were fascinated and frightened by them. During the reign of Elizabeth 1, hundreds of women, and some men, were convicted of witchcraft and executed. People were frightened of witches because they were believed to have amazing powers. They could curse entire communities, bringing disease and misfortune. They used evil spells and black magic. In 'Macbeth' the witches talk about their familiars: "1 Witch: I come Greymalkin! 2 Witch: Paddock calls." In Elizabethan times familiars were believed to be demons obeying a witch. Yet people were intrigued by witches as well. They performed strange rituals and spells. The powers they possessed were also alluring: "Fair is foul, and foul is fair; Hover through the fog and filthy air." ...read more.

Middle

Banquo's personality, in contrast, is much more stable. In Polanski's film version of Macbeth, the references to familiars in act 1 scene 1 is omitted, and the whole section in act 1 scene 3 about making the wind blow in the wrong directions to prevent the ships reaching port is omitted. Some of this language in act 1 scene 3 is obscure and difficult to understand, and it could be that Polkanski does this to make the film more accessible to a modern audience. However, he could have left some of this language in if he thought that witchcraft was important in Macbeth. The witches in Polanski's Macbeth are not dressed in stereotypical witches clothing; they are dressed in rags. Their meeting place is not the heath as referred to in the text, but a bleak beach. All these things distance Polanski's witches from Shakespeare's witches. In Polanski's version of 'Macbeth' the witches seem to be sealing Macbeth's fate from the start of the film. In act one scene one, the three witches appear on the beach and bury a knife, a severed arm, and a hangman's noose in the sand. They then pour blood from a small bottle on to the sand where the items are buried. ...read more.

Conclusion

This suggests very subtly to the audience early on that he is going to be the main character. The music that is at the beginning of act 1 scene 3 is discordant. This prepares the audience for the predictions that the witches make. The music consists of a pedal base note that is often in musical terms called a drone. This creates an unsettled feeling for the scene that is effective. The clash of closely grouped notes that are mingled in with this drone is also effective and creates tension and unease. The weather in act 1 scene 3 is dark, dank and miserable. This helps in creating the mood for what is about to happen. The expression on Macbeth's face when the witches make the prediction is one of shock; by filming a Big Close Up the audience's attention is focused on Macbeth's reaction to the witches. The symbolic items buried on the beach seem to suggest that the witches are controlling Macbeth's future. However, act 1 scene 3 in the film is a more literal interpretation of Shakespeare's work in that it focuses the audience's attention on how Macbeth is influenced by the witches because of the flaws that exist in his personality. Polanski lets the audience decide whether the witches are there to tempt Macbeth, or whether they are in fact causing his personality to change. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Macbeth section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Macbeth essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    How does Shakespeare characterize the witches?

    3 star(s)

    Witches carried out common spells; 1 witch: Where hast thou been sister? 2 witch: Killing swine 3 witch: Sister, where thou? 1 witch: A sailor's wife had chestnuts in her lap And munched, and munched, and munched: 'Give me', quoth I, 'Aroint thee, witch!'

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Explore the impact of the witches in Act One Scenes One and Three

    3 star(s)

    It also implies they have met before. The second witch replies to the first witch by saying ' when the hurly-burly's done, when the battles lost and won' , which first of all shows the witches rhyming and creating a sort of chant , but also saying that the battle they are discussing, will be lost and won.

  1. How does Shakespeare create and maintain tension and dramatic inpact in Act 1 Scene ...

    ...her choppy fingers laying upon her skinny lips: you should be women, and yet your beards forbid me to interpret that you are so.' This conveys that as their appearance is not civil then this could suggest that this is one of the ways in which William Shakespeare had tried

  2. Comparing the behaviour and language of Macbeth and Banquo from act 1 scene 3 ...

    He has seen Mac Beth change and now knows that he would now go to any length to stay at the top and to get what he wants.

  1. By considering the soliloquies, analyse how Macbeth's character changes as the play progresses.

    Shakespeare and other playwrights use colours to depict emotions and the powers of good and bad. Here the more powerful colours being the dark and fiery colours "hide your Fires" and "black and deep" showing the dark and sinister nature of what is occurring.

  2. The Dramatic Impact and Significance of Act 1 Scene 1 and Act 3 Scene ...

    This means that some things in the play has two truths and always what they seem. The witches seem to have some kind of power over Macbeth. They predict their meeting with Macbeth and they predict Macbeths future. I think if Macbeth hadn't heard the witches predictions he wouldn't have turned evil.

  1. The Dramatic Impact of The Witches in Macbeth

    by freezing and changing the lighting, this was quite effective as all one stage were oblivious to them. The scene then shifted quickly this then provided a sudden shock at the confusion of what had just happened. When you next see the witches in Act 1 Scene 3 you get

  2. Why is act 1 scene 3 important to our understanding of Macbeth?

    Banquos comments on the witches suggest the unknown, he says things like 'What are these? Live you or are you dead? Man may question? Should be women? Are you?' The keywords such as 'Withered and wild' and 'are you dead' add to the expectancy of the audience and their understanding of the witches.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work