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Comparing Films of Macbeth.

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Comparing Films of Macbeth Shakespeare's 'Macbeth,' was first performed before King James I at Hampton Court in 1606. Since then, Macbeth has gone on to be an ever-popular play, endlessly produced by a sea of directors. Having recently watched two of these productions, the first by the Polish director Roman Polanski and the other British director Gregory Doran's production for the Royal Shakespeare Company. It is apparent that there are great differences in how the two directors chose to portray the characters in the play. One of the interperative differences is in the character of Lady Macbeth. In the Royal Shakespeare Company's version we first meet Lady Macbeth in Act1 Scene5. She has black long hair, very pale skin, a slim figure and is dressed in black. Many critics have commented that her appearance is rather witch like and this is exactly what most people expect her to be. We witness her reading a letter when she suddenly looks up. ...read more.


This is generally associated with evil. It is also important to note that she is dressed in white. This is again associated with innocence and purity, which we know Lady Macbeth is not. Lady Macbeth is very calm and gentle in the way she talks. Once again this contrasts with Polanski's version in which she speaks quite cunningly. In Polanski's version you could almost say she looks lifeless in this scene. We see her stand upon the battlements without any compassion for what she is thinking. This is strikingly different from the way she is depicted in the RSC version. Lady Macbeth's final scene is Act5 Scene1. This is of course inversion as the first scene we met her in was Act1 Scene5. Doran uses further inversion in this scene as the last time we met Lady Macbeth she was wearing black. She is now wearing white. Doran, deliberately wanted us to notice this as he uses a black background to emphasise what she was wearing. ...read more.


This provides a full-circle sense to the tragedy. It takes the viewer back to the beginning of the story and reiterates how the horrible chain of events was started. This was very clever of Polanski; through Lady Macbeth's sobbing she reads it, in the raggedness of the letter implies many repeated readings, Polanski shows her as, not so much mad but consumed by remorse for what they have done. I believe the two versions are very different, mainly because of the media they have been designed for. When Hugh Hefner promised at the launch of the film, a movie full of sex and violence I don't think it would have particularly appealed to Shakespeare lovers. Conversely the RSC production is unlikely to appeal to the stereotypical playboy reader. This is reflected in both films and as a result they were very different. The Polanski version, is very good in its own right but my personal favourite is Gregory Doran's simply because it has a more typical approach and is a lot truer to the text. By Siobhan Mone ...read more.

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