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Compare and contrast the Polanski and the Animated Tales versions of the Macbeth Witches in Act 1 Scenes 1 and 3.

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Introduction

Compare and Contrast the Polanski and the Animated Tales Versions of the Macbeth Witches in Act 1 Scenes 1 and 3. This essay describes how two different film directors have interpreted and expanded on Shakespeare's original text of Macbeth to produce their own films, focusing on the witches. The films are both based on Macbeth but there are many differences. In these films, we expect the witches to create problems and bring evil, setting a tense and fearful atmosphere. They do this to recreate the atmosphere that was present when Shakespeare's play was performed in his day. In both Polanski's and the Animated Tales versions, the witch's attire makes them seem both supernatural and unnatural. In Polanski's they are dressed in rags, varying in age. The unnatural attire has come from a quotation of Banquo from Act 1 Scene iii - "What are these, so wither'd and so wild in their attire, that look not like th'inhabitants o'th'earth". The eldest witch has a long pointy nose and is wearing a long, black garment. One could say that her attire makes her look rather like a raven. Ravens were thought to be messengers of bad things to come in the future, this is supported by a quotation of Lady Macbeth - "The raven himself is hoarse", but now the witches are the messengers of the bad things to come. In Animated Tales, the witches are each wearing a mask and they shift between their two faces (they are two faced - equivocation). ...read more.

Middle

The Animated Tales charm, as I have said before, takes place when the witches are giving the prophecies to Macbeth and Banquo. When a witch says, "All hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor", the fingers of the skeleton witch are used to make the medallion that belongs to the Thane of Cawdor. Then when a different witch says "All hail Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter", the fingers turn into a crown. The dazzling gold crown floats above Macbeth's head; this may be a sign that Macbeth is never going to be a proper king, just a king in title. The crown shines a reddish glow onto his face as if its tempting him, this links in with the text as the witches do not make Macbeth King, they just put the idea in his head - "All hail Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Glamis. All hail Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor. All hail Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter." The fact that the glow is reddish is relevant because in the play, blood is a representative of guilt and blood is red. Animated Tales takes that into consideration and uses it to illustrate how Macbeth becomes king, but he is a guilty king. The red glow could be interpreted as the witches telling Macbeth a red future, a guilty future, an evil future. The witches' eyes were glowing red when Banquo says, "If you can look into the seeds of time", this suggests they can see the evil future or it could be that the red is symbolic of how they are equivocating against Macbeth. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is different from Polanski's version because after the prophecies are told in his version, the witches lead Macbeth and Banquo after them. They are leading them into an old burial grave of a king. This is fitting as the witches are leading Macbeth to a death of a king - Duncan! When they are leaving, Polanski has realised that because they are evil, they cannot be seen as feminine (he knows this because of when Lady Macbeth asks the evil spirits to "unsex" her in the text), so one of the witches lifts her skirt and growls. That is also related to this quotation of Banquo's - "Upon her skinny lips; you should be women, and yet your beards forbid me to interpret". Banquo doesn't say that in Polanski's version - Polanski uses this gesture to illustrate Banquo's quotation and so that he sticks to the original text. I personally thought that Polanski's version of Macbeth represented the witches better than the Animated Tales version. Some of his illustrations were exceptionally intellectual, with the natural disorder in Scotland represented by the dischorded bagpipes sticking in my mind. Also because Animated Tales is animated, it would be easier to make the witches seem supernatural. The metamorphosing of the witches in the Animated Tales version would be a lot easier to fabricate than the Greek Mythology that Polanksi used. It seems that more work has gone into Polanki's version as special effects aren't used, this also makes it more like what audiences in Shakespeare's day would have seen. Darren Cave Page 3 5/2/2007 ...read more.

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