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A Character Analysis Of Macbeth

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Introduction

A Character Analysis Of Macbeth Macbeth was first performed for King James (of England and Scotland) in 1605. Shakespeare wrote the play in the knowledge that it was likely to appeal to the king, who was interested in witchcraft. In the Jacoben period, most of Britain believed that witches existed and there were laws in place that forbade anyone from practising witchcraft. The king had written an academic work on the topic, and by including the witches and supernatural events in the play Shakespeare raised some popular contemporary issues. He also created more interest for King James by having the character Banquo in the play. Banquo was a Scottish ancestor of King James, and as predicted by the weird sisters, Banquo's sons become kings. By Act Two the audience has already has seen the witches, and it has been made clear that there was a rebellion in Scotland, with the former Thane of Dawdor and some other lords joining Norwegians in an attempt to invade. After the battle is when Macbeth and Banquo run into the weird sisters and they predict the future for the two. The atmosphere at this point in the play is quite relaxed, in comparison to how we see Macbeth and Banquo together in later stages of the play. The characters are firmly established by Act Two. Macbeth is a brave, well-respected soldier who is tempted by the powers of evil (the weird sisters). Banquo is an equally good soldier and is as high in society as Macbeth but isn't corrupted by the weird sisters. ...read more.

Middle

In Act Two scene Two Macbeth establishes himself from Lady Macbeth, proving that he can make his own decision, whilst in his soliloquy, he decides that he will murder Duncan; without Lady Macbeth there prompting him to do so. It also suggests to the audience that Macbeth is possessed in some fashion, when at the end of his soliloquy, he performs what is almost a spell when he says "Hear it not Duncan for it is a knell which summons thee to heaven or to hell." Shakespeare creates definite senses of evil through what is said and heard, like the end of Macbeth's soliloquy. There is a thin line between good and evil in the play, and it is easy to over step the mark, which Macbeth does. He goes from war hero to a corrupted king in a matter of days. The possible turning point is when Macbeth hears a prayer but cannot pronounce 'Amen', and he himself thinks of this deeply. He knows himself that what he has done was wrong, and he acknowledges this by refusing to return to the scene of the murder. Shakespeare uses blood to almost 'stain' Macbeth's mind, marking him permanently as a murderer. Macbeth knows that water can never get rid of the guilt. In conclusion if I were to direct a film version of the play I would use a shadow effect to create the illusion of a dagger, as this was the most successful way of performing it out of the three different versions I have seen. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Polanski version is very successful in creating an atmosphere of the eerie and supernatural. It achieves this by using different techniques, like the filters mentioned earlier. An interesting technique is used towards the end as the witches leave the scene. They appear to be walking slowly but moving very far, "hovering through the fog and filthy air". This is done by slowly bringing the focus out on the camera, making for an extremely uncanny effect. The silhouettes of the witches then become the letters for the title; this graphic suggests the thematic link between the witches and MacBeth. The two versions are very different mainly because of the media that they have been designed for and also because of the time at which the films were made. 'Macbeth on the Estate' raises issues about bringing Shakespeare to different audiences. Some people would say that Shakespeare should be left untouched. Others welcome the changes, as does actor Sir Ian McKellen "If an audience enjoys it, it will be Shakespeare that they are enjoying." Changes to the text are done with varying success. I think 'Macbeth on the Estate' would have been better if the language would have been updated, as the Shakesperian language doesn't seem to fit with the modern characters. The Polanski version is a more typical approach to adaptation, and is well edited and presented for a film of its period. However I do prefer the Woodcock version because I believe Shakespeare should be accessible to everybody and eventually original Shakespeare will die out if it is not updated to suit modern tastes. Anthony Mackay VS ...read more.

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