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Presentation of Macbeth to Elizabethan and Contemporary Audiences

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Introduction

Presentation of Macbeth to Elizabethan and Contemporary Audiences For this piece of coursework, I am going to compare and contrast how I as a theatre director, would present the witches' scenes in Macbeth to an Elizabethan audience and a Contemporary audience. Macbeth is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare. The language used by Shakespeare is open to reinterpretation. Different people who read it will understand it in different ways. The text has many different meanings. This means that as the audience's changes socially, politically, economically and culturally there will be a different interpretation. The concept of 'witches' is continually open to reinterpretation. In the 16th century the audience was not like it is today. People in general believed in witches. It was thought that they were a real presence. Magic was a common subject and quite normal. However, witches were also thought to be evil and were therefore killed. An example of this was 'The Witch Trials' where James I executed hundreds of young women because they were thought to be witches. ...read more.

Middle

The language used would be altered slightly so as to make more sense. For example, change from old to modern English. Also, when the second witch says 'paddock calls' (line 9) it shall be read as if it is the future calling them. This would then be the link between the play and our modern society. SCENE 2 This scene would be very realistic for the Elizabethan audience. The witches would be prophesising to Macbeth and Banquo. This would be acceptable to this audience as witches were commonly mischievous. When the witches are discussing where they have been lines 1-30, I would have them acting out the 'sailor's wife munching on chestnuts in her lap' and the ship being 'tempest tossed' this will add to the atmosphere of the scene. This scene would be presented very differently to the 21st century audience though. The witches would be not unlike 'voices' inside Macbeth's head. The lines would be spoken by different people although actually read by the same person. ...read more.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the way that the scenes would be presented to an Elizabethan audience are very realistic and scary. By scary, I mean that as the Elizabethans believed in witches, they feared them. So, when I present the witches and their familiars, it would be scary to this audience. However, this varies greatly from the way in which I would present the scenes to a contemporary audience. This being that everything is presented on a sub-conscious level. This is more acceptable to the society of today. Anything that is not quickly explained away is a threat to the stability of our society. If a seemingly abnormal occurrence cannot be explained as some kind of phenomenon, people begin to feel at risk and scared. This feeling of insecurity has always been covered up through the different eras by different beliefs and commonly accepted ideas. If there were not a solid belief, we would be thrown into chaos and confusion. Everyone would question everything and life would become very hectic. Just as it does in the final scenes of Macbeth-when he dies. ...read more.

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