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

Compare & contrast the opening scene of Shakespeare's Macbeth as portrayed by Roman Polanski and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Which do you think is more successful?

Extracts from this document...


Compare & contrast the opening scene of Shakespeare's Macbeth as portrayed by Roman Polanski and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Which do you think is more successful? Before watching any of the above versions I read the brief script for the first scene. From this piece of the script I would expect each of our extracts to fulfill the wishes of Shakespeare: set in 'an open place' and with 'thunder and lightning.' Yet these are the only stage directions so the production and direction of this scene is left widely to the director. The first scene is a very important part of the play, and yet it is only thirteen lines long it is in it this scene that we are introduced to the three witches who provide the undercurrent of evil and demonic tendencies which run throughout the play. The first version we watched was the Royal Shakespeare Company's. At the beginning the colour of the screen was predominantly red - symbolic of the suffering, dangers and bloodshed to come in the play. ...read more.


During the scene the lights continually flicker this also casts many shadows perhaps signifying the spiritual world. When the name of Macbeth is uttered it is followed by a discord, suggesting that he is to play a main part in the plot of the play. The words spoken by the witches are faithful to the original script, as we would expect from the Royal Shakespeare Company. The witches reaching into the middle ends the scene. The camera focuses in on their hands, which are withered and dirty. There is a suggestion that the three are united in an evil bond. The scene ends with another roll of thunder. Roman Polanski's version could not have been anymore different. The scene is set on a beach, a modern interpretation of Shakespeare's script. Polanski uses symbols to take the place of dialogue. The scene opens in late evening and during the first few seconds the screen becomes dark and then light again. The darkness leaves a shadow over the land maybe again using the symbolic meaning as the first production. ...read more.


Herbs are added to signify the binding together of a spell, the hole is covered up again and blood is poured over it. The witches then spit together over the hole again maybe symbolising the unity of the three witches. The witches now begin speaking with the last lines of the scene and then return to the beginning of the text, there is a significant pause before the word 'Macbeth.' The last three lines are missed out. The witches then go off in different directions and leave no footprints in the sand reinforcing our thoughts that the witches are not of this world the wind howls, closing the scene with an eerie feeling. In my opinion Roman Polanski's version is the better of the two, there is more of a symbolic meaning enforcing the thoughts of William Shakespeare. I enjoyed watching the Polanski version more, as the acting seems to be more 'natural' than the quality of acting in the Shakespeare Company's version. The only drawback to Polanski's version, I think is that he is not loyal to Shakespeare's original script and stage directions. If adhered to, Shakespeare's literary genius and Polanski's fantastic imagery could bind together to create a fantastic production of Macbeth. James McLoughlin 12M ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE 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 GCSE Macbeth essays

  1. Compare and contrast Roman Polanski's and Orson Welles' film adaptation of the opening scene ...

    Welles sets his scene on top of a cliff. He uses this, as it is a remote and unpopulated area. Again, Welles uses the traditional image of witches. He creates an intense and spooky ambience by moving the camera back and forth from the clouded sky to the bubbling cauldron.

  2. Having watched the "Long Overdue" production of Macbeth, compare the performance to Shakespeare's original ...

    All minor characters were played effectively but when actors doubled (one actor/actress plays a number of roles) it caused confusion. The production showed the same strength of character as most of the characters in the script original. In Shakespeare's original script the action revolves around the witches, therefore their contribution is immense and in this production they recognised this.

  1. The Film Versions of Macbeth

    His eyes have a streak of light through them making him look like the devil himself. This is just the picture the director wanted to achieve and he did it simply by the movement of the camera. I would like to suggest now why exactly this is such a notable production of Shakespeare's play...

  2. What is Shakespeare's purpose for the witches in Macbeth?

    born and in the play Macduff tells him he was ripped from his mothers womb before he was meant to be born. The third apparition was a baby with a crown on its head and a tree in its hands which represents a battle when the army cut down and moved a forest and used it as a disguise.

  1. MacBeth - Examine a scene from Mac Beth - both film and text versions. ...

    At the time of production colour would have been available to Welles' however he wished for his production to be done in black and white. The costumes used also create a mysterious and spooky atmosphere. Welles' has gone for the stereotypical version of the witches and the witches seem like a unit.

  2. Macbeth The presentation of the witches in the opening scenes is crucial to the ...

    What are you?" This shows that they were unlike ordinary women. in scene iii the witches are again standing in the triangular formation and this time we notice the witch at the peak and how she must be the predominant witch as she has more lines and they are more important to the story.

  1. How do the directors Trevor Nunn and Roman Polanski present Act I scenes I ...

    This shows the theme of good in Nunn's production. While Duncan is praying, a wounded soldier, who is shown with a close up shot with blood on his face, reports to Duncan about the fighting. Nunn shows the wounded soldier very well, as he doesn't speak properly and he has blood on his face.

  2. How does the representation of the witches in Roman Polanski's and The Royal Shakespeare ...

    In the production by The Royal Shakespeare Company, the witches started moaning, howling, and then screaming as the priest chanted, up until the thunder strikes when they become suddenly silent and then talk about Macbeth. The ways in which the witches are presented makes you immediately know that they are doing something evil and they come across evil.

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