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How does Lady Macbeths sleep walking scene relate to earlier parts of the play? In your answer you should refer to the way the scene is presented in both the RSC and Polanski versions.

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Introduction

ANDREW WILKINSON MACBETH COURSEWORK FOR GCSE ENGLISH MACBETH COURSEWORK How does Lady Macbeths sleep walking scene relate to earlier parts of the play? In your answer you should refer to the way the scene is presented in both the RSC and Polanski versions. T he sleepwalking scene is the last time we see Lady Macbeth before she is killed. It is suggested in act 5 scene 9 that this was done by her 'self and violent hands'. We would of course expect her to be in a very distressed state before this. In act 5 scene 1 she reveals her deepest secrets to the gentlewoman and the doctor of physic. Although Lady Macbeth does not go into detail, the audience and the doctor know that she has 'spoken what she should not.' When we first see Lady Macbeth in this scene, she is washing her hands to get rid of a spot of blood. This illusion may be a mark left from the night of the murder. It cannot be washed away. Another interpretation of this may be that when she asked the witches to help her in act1 scene 5 when she asked to be filled 'from the crown to the toe top - full of direst cruelty; make think my blood, stop up th' access and passage to remorse'. It was thought that when a witch touched you a mark was left on your body. ...read more.

Middle

When Macbeth arranged this murder, he was acting on his own, not consulting Lady Macbeth. This was the beginning of Macbeth acting alone. Once he could act on his own, He and Lady Macbeth grew apart, their marriage began to fail and they became not only emotionally distant but also physically distant as Macbeth went out to the battle field to put down rebellions. This meant that the one person she could talk to was not there. When she says 'what, will these hands never be clean' she is looking at her hands to see if the blood is gone but because the mark is not a physical mark she cannot get rid of it. The mark is actually a mental mark. 'No more o' that my lord, no more o' that' relates back to the banquet scene when Lady Macbeth is trying to cover up for Macbeth who thought he saw Banquo. 'All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.' Lady Macbeth can not only see the vision of Duncan, but also smell the blood on her hand. She is tormented by these thoughts and so the reason why she cannot sleep. 'Wash your hands, put on your night-gown, look not so pale.' Refers to after the murder when Lady Macbeth is telling Macbeth what to do so that it appears they have been in bed. ...read more.

Conclusion

Franchesca is much younger than Judi. As the RSC version is a stage production, they do not have the ability to go to outdoor sets. Polanski who was able to do this, used it well. At the end of act 4 scene 2, he cut from the slaughtering of Macduff and his children to Lady Macbeth coming out from behind a screen similar to the one found in a confession box. In the RSC adaptation, the gentlewoman is dressed as a nun. This makes us think that Lady Macbeth needs god to help her. When we first see her in this scene, she is walking through the dark like a lost soul. When she screams it is very long and drawn out. She is clearly in distress. The scream seems to fade away as is she is falling into hell. Finally as she walks away for the last time, the candle fades away into the distance. In the Polanski version Lady Macbeth is naked. This gives the impression that she is vulnerable. She emerges from behind a screen, which resembles a confession box. This is what she does in this scene. She tells the gentlewoman and the doctor all the things that she told Macbeth never to disclose. I think the stage production was much more effective. Judi Dench is a brilliant actor who takes this part to a new level. I found the RSC adaptation more interesting, easier to watch and a good insight to the 16th century culture. . 3 1 ...read more.

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