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Comparing the Polanksi and BBC productions of Macbeth

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Macbeth I have been analyzing Macbeth by Shakespeare comparing two different film versions with the original play. Polanski's version was produced by 'Playboy', which gave it a certain adult expectation, even though it turned out to be a very traditional movie aimed at adults. The second movie, Macbeth on the estate, which was a 1980's BBC2 production, designed for teenagers and was more updated than Polanski's version. In the early 1600's William Shakespeare wrote a play, which would go down in history as the cursed Scottish play after a number of mishaps doing the productions. It was written for his new friend James I (James VI of Scotland) who was interested in witchcraft and Scotland, hence the theme in the play. The play it self tells the story of a man, urged on by his wife and foretold by prophecy, who commits regicide in order to gain power. In the opening scene Shakespeare descried the surroundings as "Desolate Place" and did not really say any more on the matter. Polanski first scene we see three elderly witches on a beach with very foggy weather. This is an interoperation of Shakespeare's description of the place as a "Desolate Place" as it is just totally bare. In the estate version the setting is a run down estate with broken glass everywhere and rats running around. ...read more.


As the Macbeth was written for James I (James VI of Scotland), Duncan the king was most probably meant to represent James I, so his clothing would have been very stereotypical of a king. Polanski's version the king was also very stereotypical of a king on horses with all his bodyguards. In the estate version Duncan looked like a normal man. He was shown down the pub drinking a beer. The only thing different from a normal man was he had a huge ring, which represented the crown that would have been in the original play. BCC2 did this, as it would have been a bit out of place to have a crown in an up to date estate version of Macbeth. In the play a captain who spoke of Macbeth as being a great hero "for brave Macbeth - well he deserves that - name - disdaining fortune, with his brandished steel", delivered the news of the battle. He wasn't in the slights worried about himself, just fighting for the king and the country". In the opening scene the witches gave us a bad impression of Macbeth and now he has been described as a hero. In Polanski's version a messenger delivered the news of the battle after the war was over. ...read more.


It was not shown in the original version because Glob Theater stage was very small and they would not have been able to show a huge war with the Norwegians, with it having the same effect if only they could fit only a few actors on the stage. The battle was reported with language instead of being a visual report. Shakespeare had to use dramatic and detailed descriptions "Doubtful it stood as two spent swimmers...." Shakespeare uses metaphase to help the audients experience the drama of the battle. I found Macbeth to be a very interesting and traditional play. In Polanski's version and the original play I found both opening scenes to be very similar with not much difference at all. Where as Macbeth on the estate was a totally new update of the original play, which was easier to relate to. So in my view Macbeth on the estate was the better version on all three versions that I read and watched. This was because it was more update and easier to relate to with much more action. The one thing I didn't like about it though, was the accent old Shakespeare dialog been spoken by Birmingham accent made it very hard to understand what was going on sometimes but it was still the better version. George Ward 11w2 ...read more.

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