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Compare Shakespeare's Macbeth and Polanksi's film version - how do they portray the witches? which had the greastest impact on the audience?

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In class we studied Shakespeare's Macbeth and Polanksi's film version and how they present the witches to portray them in an evil and sinister manner and how the audience felt about them at this time. The witches had told Banquo " Thou shalt get Kings, though thou be none." Meaning that his children's children would be Kings. And this so happened when King James took the throne who would have been reigning when Shakespeare's play was shown. He had an immense fear of witches and black magic and in his power banned all kinds of witchery claiming that he had been almost killed by three witches. His hatred of them stretched so far that he even wrote a book called Daemonology, which told readers how to identify someone being controlled by magic. The witches in the Shakespeare's play are referred to as the "Wyrd Sisters"; "Wyrd" does not have the same meaning as the word "Weird" today. It is an old English/Anglo Saxon word-meaning fate, which is mainly what witches were assoiciated with in those days. When Shakespeare wrote Macbeth he based it on a real historical story but twisted it a lot. In reality Duncan had been a horrible King and deserved to die. Act one scene one opens and immediately Shakespeare suggests an eerie atmosphere on the other hand Polankisis does not. Thunder and lightning were usually associated with evil, and people in the Jacobean era believed that witches could control the weather. ...read more.


Insomnia was seen as having a cursed life therefore showing the audience the cruelty of their plot. In line 20 the first witch mentions a pent-house lid which is otherwise seen as an eyelid suggesting that another in the play will suffer from sleep deprivation, which later is associated with Macbeth, who, after killing Duncan cannot sleep because of his nightmares. Polanksi chooses to scrap this information and has the witches singing or are they saying a chant? One of the witches is rubbing ointment into another's back, showing their compassion for each other, even if they don't have any love for others they still have some for their own kind. The maiden helps the blind witch to the cave as a goat runs by. Goats were seen as evil creature and associated them with the devils, most people think because of the horns. They talk to Macbeth as they walk into the cave this is quite mysterious and we wonder why a cave? The maiden flashes showing us her disrespect for others and they disappear into the cave and Macbeth and Banquo ride off. In the time when the play was set there was a ship that had come in from sea after being suspected lost, claiming that they had been calmed and couldn't get back this tells us that Shakespeare did research for his play to make it as real as possible. ...read more.


He will not go the way of Macbeth and do on evil to others to get more in life. So in this way he will be greater than him even without a crown. The 2nd witch tells him, "Not so happy, yet happier" I think this statement means although he doesn't have as much money as Macbeth, nor is he as good on the battlefield. But at home he has a loving family, which makes him far happier than Macbeth could ever be. The 3rd witch tells him, "Thou shalt get Kings" This means Banquo's children would take the throne after Macbeth. This is later to make Macbeth paranoid and to result in his downfall and the killing of Banquo. The witches then leave with Macbeth begging to know more. I conclude that Shakepeares play would have the greatest impact on the audience as in the Jacobean era people believed in witches and the supernatural, but now in the time of Polankis witches are just seen as ugly creatures children dress up as at Halloween. They are not frightening no more as Terry Pratchet, author of "The Wyrd Sisters" based on Shakespeare's play, makes quite clear presenting them in an amusing, funny nature showing us people have no fear of them any more. The witches have a great impact on both plays and although they are not as scary anymore they are still associated with black magic and therefore linked with the evil turn of Macbeth. The play wouldn't have the same twist without them. ...read more.

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