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A Comparison of Roman Polanski's film version of Macbeth and the BBC Shakespeare production by Shaun Sutton

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Macbeth Macbeth is a tragedy set in Scotland. There are themes of supernatural powers, betrayal, murder and self-destruction in this play. It shows how Macbeth kills to become king and how Lady Macbeth's passion and thrust for power drives him. In this assignment I intend to compare and contrast Roman Polanski's film version and the BBC Shakespeare production by Shaun Sutton. The Sutton production opens with a prominent red sky and then this quickly turns into a dull grey darkness. Roll of thunder overhead is raging. The witches are wearing old rages. It is overlooking what appears to be an ancient burial ground where tombstones are visible only as silhouettes. This is symbolic of the bloodshed that is about to come later in the play. The witches are sitting around a large stone, which looks like they are about to make a sacrifice. The witches are chanting in a menacing language and they are speaking in riddles. ...read more.


There are three generations of the witches. The oldest witch is ugly, has a hump on her back and is haggard; the middle witch is a typical old wrinkled woman; the youngest witch is a typical girl with long blonde hair, blue eyes and pale skin. It is symbolic to how evil can easily be disguised and it can wear all faces! Evil also disguised by Macbeth and lady Macbeth, Polanski incorporated many new ideas into his film version. The witches bury three objects into the sand and they are all symbolic: The noose represents the hanging of the Thane Of Cawdor, the dagger and hand portray the murder of King Duncan and finally the pouring of blood is symbolic of the bloodshed which is to come and also seals the deal of the witches. The scene ends with the witches disappearing into the mist, the sound of lashing waves and the screeching of the sea gulls leaves viewers intrigued and confused. ...read more.


The witches are also chanting around them asking when will they will meet again and where and what kind of weather will it be "in rain, thunder or in lighting" the witches are a lot different in the film than in the BBC version because they are three generations instead of them all around the same age. The film version is better set up than the BBC because you can tell that they are acting on a stage, and in the film version they are in the outdoors where you know it is real because of the sounds and in the visions around the witches. The outdoors also produces sounds of seagulls, the sea crashing. At the end of the opening scene the three witches walk off with the youngest pulling a cart and then they disappear into the air. Later on in the film the three witches meet with Macbeth where they tell him his wife Lady Macbeth where they plan to kill King Duncan, which adds a little suspense to the film. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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