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Roman Polanski’s Version of Macbeth

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In my piece of course work I am going to compare Shakespeare's original Act 1 scene i from Macbeth, to Roman Polanski's modern film. Shakespeare wrote his play to be performed on stage. Elizabethan stages were in open air and had no curtains and no lighting so all performances had to take place in the afternoon. This meant that Macbeth had to depend heavily on words and descriptions of the atmosphere, to paint the scene. Polanski made a film this meaning that he could use special effects, shoot scenes from different locations and at different times during the day. Polanski also had the freedom to put what he thought would be appropriate into the film as he was directing this film for a modern day audience to be entertained. Taking this into account we can see how Polanski would need to change the original script. Act 1 scene i is the opening scene in which we first meet the witches. In Macbeth's play it is situated on a Scottish heath however in Polanski's version it is set on a beach. ...read more.


A severed arm is also placed in this circle this could symbolise the savage murders of those innocent through out the whole play. A dagger is also positioned in the hand curiously pointing inwards; this could stand for Duncan's death. When these objects have been placed carefully the witches dig a hole this could symbolise them sowing the seeds of temptation. When the objects have been covered with sand blood is poured over the sand and this is appropriate because the imagery of blood reigns throughout the whole tragedy i.e. when Lady Macbeth has dreams of not being able to keep her hands clean. The witches then spit 3 times; there are also 3 witches; these are numbers traditionally linked with evil. The witches enter and they are crudely dressed. The first one is young and dumb. The second is old and I believe that she is deaf because she seemed to be lip reading, and the third is very old and blind I know this because she had her eyes covered up. ...read more.


Polanski reverses Shakespeare's original text and begins with the equivocating rhyme 'fair is foul and foul is fair. Hover through the fog and filthy air'. This creates an air of mystery and suspicion, which keeps to Shakespeare's script. The last word in Polanski's version is the word 'Macbeth'. This is used to whet the audience's appetite, as they desire to find out who Macbeth is and why his name is connected to the witches. Then there is the dramatic entry of the name 'Macbeth' across the screen. There is no mention of the Familiars perhaps this is to enhance the suspicion and mystery by including them into the atmosphere of the scene instead through the lone seagulls cry. However Polanski is dealing with a modern audience, which does not believe in Familiars unlike Shakespeare's Elizabethan audience who believed in witchcraft. I believe that Polanski did justice to Shakespeare's text. Polanski kept to the original text and he interpreted his own way to make it more enjoyable for a modern day audience. If it were Shakespeare doing an adaptation of Polanski's work then Shakespeare would have to do the same to suit his Elizabethan audience. ?? ?? ?? ?? ERIN DOHERTY 12J ...read more.

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