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Macbeth Coursework

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Macbeth Coursework The witches present modern directors with great difficulties. Consider the role of the witches and suggest how they can be made as successful for a modern audience as they would have been for a contemporary audience. In Shakespeare's day, the thought of the witches scared people as they thought that they had witches living among them, casting spells on them and trying to do them harm. This fear was fuelled by the King at the time, James I, who believed strongly in the Divine right of Kings. This meant that he thought he derived his authority from God and so could not be held responsible for his actions by any authorities on earth. He felt that if he was God's representative on earth, then Satan must also have one. He wrote a book on demonology, which talked about witches powers and origins. Due to this, it would have been very easy to make the witches seem frightening to an audience of that time. Nowadays however, people do not believe in witches and are not as superstitious. This makes it much more difficult for a director to make them as frightening as Shakespeare intended them to be. ...read more.


Shakespeare made the witches speech seem confusing by using oxymorons and language which is difficult to understand. "When the hurly-burly's done, When the battle's lost, and won." This would confuse people, as it does not make much sense. This would make the witches seem more frightening as people are sometimes frightened of things that they don't understand. Shakespeare also used language to make the witches seem frightening. When the witches speak, they do not speak like woman were supposed to at the time. Instead they used swear words and were very rude and cruel to people. An example of this is when they are talking to the sailor's wife in Act 1 scene 3. The first witch says: "A sailors wife had chestnuts in her lap And munch'd, and munch'd, and munch'd. 'Give me', quoth I. 'Aroint thee, witch,' the rump fed runnion cries." This would have made them frightening, as people would not be used to this behaviour from a woman and it was not generally socially acceptable. The fact that the witches played a main part in killing Duncan would have scared the audience as the King was the most important member of society and if they had the ability to trick Macbeth into killing him then they would be capable of doing other evil deeds, possibly even worse than killing the King. ...read more.


Another method a modern day director could use is to make the witches part of society and have jobs where they can get close to people and their families, such as a doctor or a midwife. This would make it more frightening as they could get close to people and still remain trusted. This is the kind of thing that still scares people today due to articles on the news about paedophiles and murderers who get close to their victims first. Another method which could be used is to make their environment cold and desolate. Rooms they are in could have dead plants, no windows and dark damp walls. This would give the impression that they bring death and darkness with them wherever they go, making them seem more evil and sinister to the audience. They could also act cruelly to each other. This would make them seem more evil as they are even cruel to people who they are 'friends' with making them seem like they do not care for anyone other than themselves and are incapable of love or proper interaction with others. In conclusion, a modern director would have a harder job making the audience scared of the witches. They would have to use more psychological methods to scare them and adapt the witches' characters so that they are more relevant to modern society. ...read more.

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