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Polanski’s Interpretations of Shakespeare’s Macbeth

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Media Coursework- Polanski's Interpretations of Shakespeare's Macbeth Polanski's film version of Macbeth is interesting when studied closely. It contains a lot of references to themes in the play, but also illustrates Polanski's own interpretation of the play. Polanski made a few noticeable changes when converting text to film, with some scenes being added to the film and others being left out of the film version. I will attempt to demonstrate the ideas and thoughts behind this particular version of Macbeth and in doing so I hope to intensify my own viewing experience. A good way of improving a film's effect is to analyse the different scenes and find some hidden interpretations and effects. The film begins with a scene that was not in the original text, but was added by Polanski. It starts with a hazy, foggy beach, and we can hear the waves against the shore, giving us an idea of the surroundings. The witches slowly appear from this fog as the camera pans out. ...read more.


The speech is presented as a voiceover. I think Polanski uses this method of presenting the soliloquy because it shows that Macbeth is actually thinking the words and not saying them. This is not the case in most stage productions as voiceovers are difficult in front of a live audience. This method enhances the atmosphere of the play and makes it seem more realistic. Going back to the subject of the witches, Macbeth meets them again in Act IV, but extra witches have been added to the scene. This makes the whole thing seem like some sort of ceremony or celebration. One interesting aspect of this scene is that none of the witches are wearing clothes. They are all completely naked. This portrays a sense of poverty, but also puts across the theme of the super-natural. When Macbeth arrives at this congregation of witches, they are concocting a potion, which he duly drinks. This leads to the visions of apparitions, the eight kings. ...read more.


The scene would have looked much better had it not contained a dagger at all. If Macbeth had pretended to see a dagger (which the audience would not see) then the tension would have been increased. The scene would have a peculiar and eerie appearance to it as Macbeth seems to be interacting with thin air. The audience would soon recognize that there is actually a dagger in Macbeth's mind and once this is realised, Macbeth would have decided to kill Duncan. This would have made the scene a lot better, compared to the superimposed dagger that was originally used. In my opinion, I think Polanski's film version of Macbeth is very well produced. It has it's faults, which can be more or less put down to the available technology. The supernatural effects in the film are shown in a way that captivates the audience and increases the atmosphere of the play. His version, as a conversion from the text, is brilliant in its content. He brings in nearly all of the scenes from the text, and adds more of his own, to great effect. ...read more.

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