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Compare and contrast the way in which the characterisation of Lady Macbeth and the setting and atmosphere are developed in three productions of act 1 scene 5

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Introduction

Compare and contrast the way in which the characterisation of Lady Macbeth and the setting and atmosphere are developed in three productions of act 1 scene 5 'Macbeth' was performed for James I in August 1606 at Hampton court. He was asked to be King of England by Queen Elizabeth I when she was dying, because she didn't have any children to become her successor and he was the closest heir. James VI of Scotland became James I of England in 1603 after Queen Elizabeth's death. Shakespeare based the story Macbeth on a book called, 'The History of Scotland' written by Raphael Holinshed. In this true story Banquo helped Macbeth kill Duncan but because James was a descendant of Banquo, Shakespeare thought it would be indiscreet to suggest that one of James's ancestors had committed regicide. Duncan's son Malcolm killed Macbeth in real life where as Macduff killed him in the play. The witches were added more into the play because James wrote a book about witches. ...read more.

Middle

She is trying to control Macbeth to kill Duncan just after she has heard that he is coming. "And you shall put this night's great business into my dispatch." In the Royal Shakespeare Production Lady Macbeth is powerful, she can control what Macbeth does, she manipulates him with sexual persuasion to do what she wants him to do. She turns away from him and makes him move to her, this shows that she has power over Macbeth and can manipulate his actions. She is wearing a black flowing robe that covers up her shape and a black hat that covers up her hair. She is not very feminine, this portrays her as evil and capable of killing Duncan to become queen. When she is thinking about killing Duncan, she shows intense concentration. They embrace each other when Macbeth comes in; this shows that they've got a very close relationship. In the BBC Production Lady Macbeth has not got much power over Macbeth. She runs up to him when he enters and he turns away from her when she's talking. ...read more.

Conclusion

She comes across as playful and childish. She does not seem to be able to commit regicide, and too innocent to be filled with 'direst cruelty' I think that the Royal Shakespeare production was the closest to the representation that Shakespeare portrayed in this play. The clothes she wore showed what Lady Macbeth was like. The actress played Lady Macbeth well because she showed that she is evil and manipulative using her movements and voice, she has power over Macbeth and influences what he does. In the BBC production she has not got as much power over Macbeth as in the Royal Shakespeare Production. She does not show that she is evil until she changes her voice. Her clothes show that she is more feminine and less capable of committing regicide. She uses sexual persuasion more than mental persuasion, this shows that she is not as calculating. In the Polanski film she is childlike and does not seem to be able to kill someone or even think about killing someone. She is very feminine because she is wearing a light blue dress, which shows the shape of her body. In my opinion Polanski got the character of Lady Macbeth completely wrong. ...read more.

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