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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: Drama
  • Word count: 3667

How effective an adaptation of the play Macbeth is the film ‘Macbeth on the Estate’?

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How effective an adaptation of the play Macbeth is the film 'Macbeth on the Estate'? Macbeth on the Estate is a modern adaptation of Macbeth. It is set on a modern, run-down housing estate in Birmingham. The major changes from the play are the setting and the characters. There are much fewer noble qualities about the people and places shown. Instead, the setting is very run-down and poor. The characters are also corrupt and indulgent. A lot of the blame for the bad things that happen in the play seems to be given to characters. For example, the possibility that the witches control Macbeth, and he is not in control is implied to be untrue by suggesting that the effects that seem to be supernatural are simply caused by drugs and the poor conditions. There are also some things done that cannot be done in a theatre, such as camerawork to direct the audience. I believe that the film is a reasonable good conversion of the play into a modern film. I believe that it managed to portray the meaning of the original in a modern way that is easy to understand for modern people, as well as making suggestions about the story. I like how every aspect of Shakespearean world was converted into something of the modern world, for example the castle being converted into a social club. What I don't like about it is the fact that the language wasn't changed from the original text. Although it is quite important to keep the film similar to the original, so as not to forget that it is the same play, I think it made the film too much like the original play. I believe that if the setting is changed, the modernisation should be completed by making the language more modern. The point of the film is, after all, to give a modern slant. ...read more.


The way that an actor can change the character is subtle, by changing subtle things not mentioned in the script. The part can be changed in many different ways. Some of these are quite significant, such as changing the original lines, adding soliloquies and changing things that are described directly in the original script. Others are less significant, and only involve changing parts that are not directly expressed in the original script, for example set locations and body language for the actors to use to help slightly change the emotions and related things, which make up the characters. The main alteration to the characters was to make them seem corrupt and not noble, to put them and society partly to blame for everything. It is mainly the characters that are very noble in the play who are changed, to make them seem less so. The major of these is King Duncan. In the play, he was known as a good and much-loved king. In the film, although he is liked a lot by the main characters, he has lost his nobility and kingliness. Instead of his castle, he has a social club, and he is very indulgent. Although all of the characters drink and smoke, he does these to more extent, and he almost never seen without a pint of beer. As well as having un-noble habits, he is also quite a sleazy character. For example, he hassles Lady Macbeth and is unpleasant to some of his servants. He is the main element in the way that the new director shows the environment around Macbeth as being corrupt and his character is changed more extremely than the others, in this way, because he is seen as the figurehead of the nobility in the play, being the most noble. Duncan's son, Malcolm, seems to be changed to also reflect the corrupt environment, but not as much. ...read more.


The film shows that violence still exists, but in compliance with the idea of there being no nobility, the fighting is changed into dishonourable gang warfare. The modernisation is equally as much about the original play and modern society. Most of the messages behind it concern both in different ways. The best example of an idea, which complies with both, is the idea of no nobility. It works to do with the modern world because it could imply that the nobility is lost, but it could also imply that it never existed, and the people in Shakespeare's time were just as bad as now. My argument is mainly about how the director has used lots of minor alterations to tell us of her opinion of the original story. I believe that she has used the modernisation to make it easier for modern people to understand, but also as a tool to suggest that what Macbeth does is not entirely the fault of the people who were seen as completely evil before. I think she was very successful in taking Shakespeare's meanings on further, and developing new, separate ideas, as well as some contrasting with him, for example, not showing the main characters as completely good or evil, which I believe adds a very good personal touch to it, and shows very subtly, yet effectively, her personal beliefs. The main ideas I believe she wanted to put across are: nobody is completely to blame; everyone has no evil and some good; a hint of feminism; the world of Shakespeare's time exists with us today; there could be other possibilities of why the events in Macbeth happened, that Shakespeare did not include. I think that the film can be appreciated on many different levels: as a simple modernisation for easy understanding, and also as a subtly constructed message about the personal feelings of one person, which can be enjoyed by the observant audience, and can also prompt us to think about what we think about the story, and to wonder what it is really about. ...read more.

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