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Any film maker when making their own interpretation of a play needs to create a general atmosphere relevant to the original script.

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Introduction

Any film maker when making their own interpretation of a play needs to create a general atmosphere relevant to the original script. This would have been the case for Roman Polanski and Orson Welles when each was creating his own version of act 1 scene 1 of Shakespeare's Macbeth. In their individual historical contexts they each had cinematic equipment at their disposal which Shakespeare did not have. When the later called for lightening and thunder ,he was given thunder boards, his play was performed in daylight with no special lighting effects in 16th century England. However Shakespeare did have the advantage of his audience understanding the superstitions concerning witchcraft, which unfortunately a modern audience would not have. Having noted these points Welles and Polanski follow Shakespeare's requirements for his play in their cinematic interpretations of Macbeth act1 scene1. Polanskis witches were quite normal looking, one is young , one is old and one is middle aged. They are also quite harmless looking, but that is really deceptive. One witch is blind, one dumb and one deaf ; they need and depend on eachother to stay alive. ...read more.

Middle

His version also seems more mysteriously eerie than Polanski's because he mentions his familiars. Both directors take liberties with Shakespeares scripts, but both create the atmosphere they want for their own film. Polanski uses bleak, desolate lokking mudflats in the early morning creating a lonely atmosphere. The scene begins with ared sunrise "red sky in the morning, sailors warning" promising bad weather to come. Shakespeare used bad weather from the start of the scene to show the evil to come and polanski does the same. Red sunrise falls to reveal a grey, cold looking overcast morning. Atmosphere of loneliness accentuated by a burd flying across the sky, the only sign of life in the moonscape. These dramatic devices could also represent the normality of life compared to the abnormality of what is to appear, showing the witches in awhole new light satanic nature. Polanski suggests disorder and emotional violence that is to follow in Scotland. By the disruption of the natural order due to the murder of Duncan by Macbeth, through subtle methods he doesn't want to use thunder and lightning like Shakespeare did, but wants something more original and desolate, a barren landscape. ...read more.

Conclusion

She then takes a hangmans noose from a sack and puts it into the makeshift cauldron. This could symbolize the hanging of the thane of cawdor or it could be symbolic of the way in which Macbeth will rule Scotland. A severed hand is then taken from a rolled up rag (could symbolize Macbeth's), is placed in the pit. Then a dagger taken form the sack is placed in the hand. This could symbolize the dagger that killed Duncan. It is finished when some kind of seed is sprinkled over the top. These could be seeds of ambition which will give Macbeth the courage to kill. The sand is now pushed in from around the outside and leveled out, finally one of the witches sprinkles blood over thse top, which could be symbolic of Macbeths bloodspill. This all symbolizes elements of punishment and violence. Welles' version seems to follow Shakespeare's original script more closely, although perhaps of his historical context of 1948 his film is generally more stereotypical of how witches are presented. Polanski's interpretation also reflects Shakespeares themes, but would appeal more to a 21st century audience and would be the one I would favor. ...read more.

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