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Give a detailed description of Roman Polanski’s treatment of Act One Scene One of Macbeth. State how effective you found this realisation.

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Introduction

Give a detailed description of Roman Polanski's treatment of Act One Scene One of Macbeth. State how effective you found this realisation. William Shakespeare created an assortment of plays with various themes but each with the same intrinsic values, which have attracted writers and producers to customise and shape these plays into their own adaptations all of whom refrain from relieving their portrayals of the inherent characteristics Shakespeare manages into his plays. Shakespeare's immutable omnipresent quality is brought about by a profound use of the English language and deep insights into the human condition creating universal and timeless prodigies for the audience or readers and is reflected in each of the realisations of today's contributions to the perceptions into William Shakespeare's work, such as the recent title "Shakespeare in love" or "Romeo and Juliet". The opening scene of Macbeth unfolds with a view over a seemingly endless span of beach, blanketed by a blood red sky and both united by a shadowy range of mountains set at daybreak. Polanski introduces his realisation using this original setting for location confidently while conforming to Shakespeare's set description "an open place". The beach is presented devoid of any form of life, just bare, calm and simple, which is why it conveys a striking supernatural feel. Polanski may have gained inspiration for this opening setting from Act One Scene Three where the three witches are again casting a spell but on a ship at sail "though his bark cannot be lost, yet it shall be tempest-tost". Another quote from the play, which suggests a beach to be an ideal backdrop for the witches again this quote from Act One Scene Three, "The weird sisters, hand in hand, posters of the sea and land". Since a beach is where both sea and land meet, the sea and land that they claim to be "posters" of then it isn't unreasonable to situate their own meeting place here as well. ...read more.

Middle

the blind witch with hers, by not speaking out of unison with the other two witches and helping them by guiding the blind witch and pulling the kart as they all depart from the scene of the casting. The middle aged witch shows signs of leadership by arranging the meeting place of where they will meet Macbeth and also as they all leave after the spell, this witch walks off separately in one direction where as the other two go off together in another direction, presenting her independence as a tribute of her leadership. The "sexless, ageless" witch demonstrates her headship when she is the only one to mention Macbeth's name, answers the middle-aged witch's questions about Macbeth, she holds the staff from which is drawn a circle and she does not participate in the digging of it. This witch shows the greatest of the supernatural powers through her aptitude to "see" without seeing and when they walk away from the site of the spell, she appears to hover, as her cloak drapes to the ground, apposed to walking. The cloak type clothing also signifies leadership. The idea that each of these three witches are separate and unique can be contradicted with the idea that when they are put together they form the "essence" of evil, symbolising all that is evil - Seductive and deceitful, deformed and crooked and of ugly nature. Just as there is the Triune God that Christians believe in; there could be this Triune evil, a single entity of these three witches. With in the first scene, Polanski uses a simple array of costumes and makeup such as the dishevelled rags for the witches but he has chosen his to present sexless, ageless and generally shapeless attires for the opening scene cast list. Makeup was used only to disguise the blind witch's eyes and put an exaggerated hook on her nose, along with a wart on the nose of the middle-aged witch. ...read more.

Conclusion

After everything is placed in the hole and they witches are about to cover it over, they all take out what looks like burnt leaves and sprinkles them over the contents of their "sandy cauldron". This could well possibly prefigure the method by Macduff to creep up on and seize Macbeth's castle by using the wood of Dunsinane. I think Polanski effectively prefigures and encapsulates the major themes of the play. The exit of the play continues with the unsettling atmosphere with the illusion that the blind witch is hovering about ground by letting her cloak drape onto the ground and the way she moves suggests not taking "step by step". "Hover through the fog and filthy air". There doesn't seem to be footprints left behind and implies the supernatural power this witch contains in her. This is a demonic parody of Christ's miracle of walking on water; here Polanski implies the satanic equivalent of Christ is this old blind witch. As they depart it is clear that they separate and head off in different directions, the blind and young witch in one direction and the middle-aged witch in the other, until they "meet with Macbeth". This opening scene shows us Polanski's use of atmosphere, props, script and theme of appearance vs. reality bringing us a timeless, universal experience of Act One Scene One where not only do we suspect the witches to be meddling with the future of Macbeth's life but amazingly Polanski has involved us to question our own sense of fate. Polanski doesn't make use of obvious witchcraft techniques such as the bubbling cauldron but goes for a subtle cunning approach successfully placing genuine unsettlement in the audience. I'm disappointed that Polanski had to mix with the original script of Macbeth in order to achieve this but admittedly I too became stuck in thought whether it was possible that there's a group of witches dooming my existence on a deserted beach right now or indeed, many years before I was born. ?? ?? ?? ?? G.C.S.E. English Coursework - Shakespeare Realisation Page 1 of 3 ...read more.

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