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Write an analysis of two different film interpretations of 'Macbeth' exploring dramatic qualities, social, cultural and historical contents.

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Introduction

'Macbeth' Write an analysis of two different film interpretations of 'Macbeth' exploring dramatic qualities, social, cultural and historical contents. The famous Shakespearean work of 'Macbeth' deals with issues that are relevant to any society in any age. It explores the far reaching effects of one mans ambition, from the total transformation of Macbeths character. From a national hero to a nation-wide terror in his pursuit of power. Although 'Macbeth' is set in Medieval Scotland, the issues that are dealt with, the supernatural, Ambition and Tyranny are still just as relevant in our society now as they were in Shakespearean England. The relevance to today's society was displayed in the modern interpretation 'Macbeth on the estate'. Where contemporary ideas of the work was but across while still using the Shakespearean 'backbone'. We compared this version to a far more traditional interpretation directed by Roman Polanski, filmed in the 1970's The modern version of 'Macbeth' 'Macbeth on the estate' opens on a desolate wasteland. In the background we can make out the large shadows of desolate tower blocks. Through the mist we can see a dark shadow walking toward us. The shadow emerges out of the mist. It is Macduff. Immediately we notice the changes the director has made to this opening scene. The first difference from the original play is the use of Macduff opening the play instead of the three witches. To understand the director's decision we must remember that four hundred years ago witchcraft was a major part of life and each year hundreds of witches were being burnt at the stake for practising the 'dark arts'. Nowadays witchcraft does not have the same appeal to the audience who would watch this version and we a forced to conclude that Macduff was used to grab the audience's attention. A factor that was used to grab the audience's attention was the colour of Macduffs skin, black. ...read more.

Middle

The end of this film was, to sum it up disappointing. For a film as fast paced and action packed I expected more. There was also no army and no mention of Birnam wood. The film ends with Macduff killing Macbeth with a single shot from a pistol. The director's decision to end the film with a bullet and not a sword or knife is another social issue, as it is now possible to kill someone without 'getting your hands dirty'. The decision could have also been for suspense. As the last thing we expected was Macduff to walk in with a gun. I for one expected a fight between Macbeth's supporters and Fleances supporters. Having said that I thoroughly enjoyed this film although I did think the end was disappointing. I will now compare the contemporary version of Macbeth, 'Macbeth on the estate' with the more traditional version of the play. This version of 'Macbeth' was directed by Roman Polanski. This version was produced in the 1970's when special effects were 'lacking'. I will compare four parts and characters of this play, with 'Macbeth on the estate'. These parts will be: the beginning, the character Lady Macbeth, the character Duncan and the end of the play. In each case, In each case I will try to compare: the use of camera angles, costumes, surroundings, sound and lighting. This version of 'Macbeth' is very traditional and the contrast to 'Macbeth on the estate' is shown in the opening scene. As 'Macbeth on the estate' opened on a desolate urban wasteland with Macduff, instead of the witches speaking. In this version the three witches are on the wasteland, burying a hand, a noose and a dagger. The three witches are very stereotypical views of witches, old, wrinkled skin and dark clothes. That hobble out of the mist. This stereotypical view of the witches is common in Shakespeare's time. ...read more.

Conclusion

The camera is focused directly at Macbeth's face. And the dramatic qualities shown by the actor who plays Macbeth is excellent, as he stares into nothing we can imagine the shock he is in. When the English and Scottish soldiers enter the castle, they encounter little resistance. As the only defender, other than Macbeth is Seyton, Macbeth's loyal armourer. Although he is dispatched by a crossbow bolt to the forehead. But that special effect is rather crudely done, but we must remember that this film was made in the 1970's before High performance computers were around. Especially the ones used to create the special effect laden film, 'The Matrix'. The fight scene between Macbeth and a group of soldiers is rather unusual, and a little confusing, because there are approximately 5 to 10 soldiers against the lone Macbeth. But instead of going in all at the same time, they only go in one at once. This may be chivalry where you gave your opponent a fair chance. But I don't think that's what Polanski meant. We all know that Macbeth can only be killed by Macduff. This is not very well done by the director, as we think it is daft that the soldiers only go in one at once. Once Macbeth finally does get mortally wounded by Macduff, he hobbles around aimlessly around the courtyard with a sword stuck through his chest, Until about 3 minutes after he is stabbed he dies. This is too create suspense before death, but we all know it's just a bad case of bad acting. Although I think this ending was better than 'Macbeth on the estates' ending which was rather disappointing due to what a good film it was. I felt there were certain parts of Polanskis ending that was very god, such as the moment Macbeth sees Birnam wood approaching him, and there are other parts that are terrible such as the killing of Seyton by a crossbow bolt, where the special effects were lacking. Overall I think this was an average end to a below average film. Page 1 ...read more.

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