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How do the directors Trevor Nunn and Roman Polanski present Act I scenes I to IV of Macbeth to their audiences?

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Introduction

ESSAY QUESTION: How do the directors Trevor Nunn and Roman Polanski present Act I scenes I to IV of Macbeth to their audiences? In your work you must make reference to the techniques used by each director to create atmosphere and a sense of good and evil. You should pay special attention to the portrayal by each director of the character of the witches, Macbeth and Duncan. In this essay I am going to explore the different representations of the Shakespeare play Macbeth by directors Trevor Nunn and Roman Polanski. The scenes I will focus on are act I scenes I until act I scene 4. In these scenes I will pay specific attention to the Witches, Macbeth and King Duncan to show how the good and evil atmosphere in the play affected the events that befall. The witches are going to play a strong part in my essay because I believe that the supernatural is a major part of the play's concept. The witches have a profound affect on Macbeth and so the plot is greatly governed by their actions. The atmosphere they produce has a great affect on the audience The atmosphere is important because it gives the audience strong first impressions of what the play in trying to show. ...read more.

Middle

The supernatural aspect in Shakespeare's Macbeth is very important and Trevor Nunn has captured it very well. By using the stage techniques previously explored, he captured the battle of good and evil between the witches and King Duncan. At the beginning of the play, we hear the witches scream of chaos against Duncan's words of prayer. This strong image of good versus evil and the strong supernatural actions of the witches gives the play a powerful start. The lighting position he uses allows the witches to suddenly vanish giving a strong supernatural effect. Later in the play, Lady Macbeth calls on the supernatural through the earth (this has strong connotations with the Devil's presence in the Earth) using methods that would have been thought suspicious in Shakespeare's time. In Trevor Nunn's version of Macbeth, Macbeth appears to be young, valiant and noble. However as the play progresses we are able to see the changes occur in him. This change is much more apparent because of the fact that Macbeth starts off so innocent - we are able to see the change more clearly. Banquo appears to be older than Macbeth, a veteran maybe, who shows little fear and appears at the start of the play to be a noble man. ...read more.

Conclusion

I found that Polanski's version was more easily understandable because there were many things providing the outline of the plot both orally and visually. However, Nunn's was more moving because he captured the atmosphere that I think Shakespeare wanted to encapsulate when he wrote the play. I think that Nunn expressed his interpretation very strongly. His statement about wanting to photograph the text was defiantly what he set out to do and what I think he achieved. Roman Polanski swapped a couple of the scenes around to try and help the audience understand more easily. However, Trevor Nunn kept to the text indefinitely. This is backed up by the fact that he stated he wanted to 'photograph the text'. I think that they both portrayed Macbeth as I had imagined he would have been. He appears to start of a picture of heroics, which gradually changes for the worse. They are both young and have proven their honour in battle. The theme of good and evil was very well portrayed in Trevor Nunn's version. The witches created more of an atmosphere than in Polanski's and the lighting worked very well in helping the witches appear as if they were disappearing. However, Polanski did a very good job of creating an evil atmosphere using a motion picture. He was able to use computers and colour more vividly. ...read more.

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