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In 'Macbeth' the witches have to be portrayed as evil and fearsome for the play to make sense

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The Witches Present Modern audiences and directors with great difficulties. Consider the role of the witches and suggest how they can be made as successful for a modern audience as they would have been for a contemporary audience. In 'Macbeth' the witches have to be portrayed as evil and fearsome for the play to make sense. This is difficult for a modern director to achieve as out culture and beliefs are extremely different from those at the time at which Macbeth was written. The intended effect of the witches is to scare the audience into believing them. To strengthen this belief one witch in the play says: 'Though has bark cannot be lost, Yet it shall be tempest-toss'd.' In Shakespeare time people were very conscious about the practice of witchcraft. People believed that witches could manipulate the weather, curse people and control what other people did. Anyone who was suspected of witchcraft was tortured. When the witches came on stage during this play the audience would have been genuinely afraid for Macbeth. In modern society people would be generally amused by the proposition that witches existed and could tell the future. ...read more.


There is imagery of the number 3 in the play. There are three witches. All the prophecies that the witches give Macbeth are said in-groups of three. 'All hail Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Glamis.' 'All hail Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor.' 'All hail Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter.' The number 3 was considered the number of Satan and everything that was evil. At no time in the play to the witch lie outright to Macbeth, but they speak in riddles that have a wide berth for interpretation. The scenes that occur at night show the dominance of evil. Light or daytime shows goodness or grace. Duncan arrives in the castle in the middle of the day, thus showing his close association with certain values such as grace, virtue, truth and goodness. Dark or night-time has a close association with evil or wrongdoing. The King is a monarch with divine rights. His murder was seen to be sacrilegious at the time. His murder happened at night and it was viewed as unnatural and the witches seem to try and perversion the natural course of everything in the play. ...read more.


This is hard for a modern director because we are less gullible. For this to be believable the scene would have to be very graphic. It is hard a modern director to make a modern audience believe what they see is true. There are several difficulties, the first is that of Banquos ghost appearing and disappearing quickly from the set. I would do this by not putting in a ghost at all but to have Macbeth look at an empty stool the whole time. This would create tension for the audience as they cannot see what it is Macbeth can see and they would have to use their own imagination. I think that putting in a ghost would make the scene more comical and less believable. The apparitions that visit Macbeth are another difficulty that a director would encounter. The way that it has been directed in the past is that puppets have been used to be the apparitions. Using people for this part of the play it would make it less believable. In my opinion the only way to make the play believable to a modern audience is to create an air of mystery to and minimise the amount of times that the audience see the supernatural. ...read more.

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