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Compare the Ways Three Different Directors Stage the Scenes – Macbeth Act one, scene one. Macbeth Act one, scene three.

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Introduction

As they are returning from battle, Macbeth and Banquo meet three witches who predict that Macbeth will become Thane of Cawdor and later King of Scotland. They also predict that Banquo will be the father of kings. Soon, Macbeth is made Thane of Cawdor. Tempted by the prophecies and his wife, Macbeth murders King Duncan of Scotland when he visits his castle. Duncan's sons Malcolm and Donalbain run away and Macbeth is crowned King. Macbeth has Banquo killed, but doesn't manage to kill his son, Fleance. Macbeth goes to see the witches again and is told to beware of Macduff, that he is safe until Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane and that he can not be harmed by anyone born of women. Macbeth gets people to kill Macduff, but they only kill Macduff's wife and children. While this is happening, Lady Macbeth goes insane and dies. Malcolm returns from England and leads an army camouflaged with leaves from Birnam Wood to attack Macbeth's castle, Dunsinane. Because Macduff was born by caesarean, he is able to kill Macbeth. Malcolm is crowned king. We watched three film versions of Macbeth directed by three different people - Jeremy Freeston (1996), Roman Polanski (1971) and a BBC version (1998). In the Freeston version, which is set in the sixteenth century, Macbeth is portrayed in a traditional manner. He is unkempt having just returned from battle. Before he meets the witches in act one, scene three, Macbeth is cheerful and victorious. ...read more.

Middle

Banquo is most definitely a secondary character in this version of Macbeth. He says very little and is nonchalant about being in the company of witches. As in the Polanski version of the film, Banquo doesn't seem to believe in the witches. The witches are portrayed very differently in this version than they are in the other two films. They are neither old nor ugly, but they are cold, calm and calculating. The emphasis is on the power of the witches rather than their eccentricity and magical abilities. They exude confidence and control at all times. The first scene begins with the witches discussing meeting with Macbeth whilst gathered around Ouigi board type game. They use tarot cards to illustrate what is going to happen. They join hands as they say their final line in the first scene, which shows a powerful alliance between the witches. When Macbeth and Banquo enter the disused car park, the witches surround them on roller skates. The three witches circle Macbeth and Banquo threateningly whilst chanting. They are wearing 'Halloween' style masks and their speech is very rhythmic. You get the impression that, unlike the Polanski version of Macbeth, these witches are not isolated from society. In the Freeston version of Macbeth, fire and roaring flames enforce the dramatic entrance of the witches. Sounds in the background such as howling dogs, wailing wind and beating drums tell of impending doom. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is also shown by the way that the witches circle Macbeth, making him follow them. In act one, scene three, Banquo speaks his lines with fear in the Polanski version, but with sarcasm and contempt in the Freeston version. In the BBC version, Banquo remains a secondary character and doesn't say much at all. Each version of the film that we watched is portrayed slightly differently. The Polanski version is the most traditional, with the witches being portrayed as sinister and evil hags, isolated by society. There is however, comical elements to Polanski's witches, such as their screeching song and the youngest witch flashing at Macbeth. The Freeston version shows the witches as less evil characters and more normal. The witches are not as ugly and eccentric as traditional witches, but use manipulation techniques such as seduction to captivate Macbeth. The BBC version is the furthest from tradition, but it is the most believable to a twentieth century audience as it is set in modern times. I prefer this version of the play because it portrays the witches as powerful and confident women able to manipulate men and prey on their weaknesses, which in the case of Macbeth are vanity and greed. These witches are also more believable to a twentieth century audience because, unlike traditional witches, they are not isolated from society. The portrayals of acts one, scene one and acts one, scene three from Macbeth vary throughout the three version that we saw, but the themes of manipulation and choosing to do evil runs throughout. Claire Williams September 2000 i i ...read more.

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