Presentation of Macbeth to Elizabethan and Contemporary Audiences

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Presentation of Macbeth to Elizabethan and Contemporary Audiences

   For this piece of coursework, I am going to compare and contrast how I as a theatre director, would present the witches' scenes in Macbeth to an Elizabethan audience and a Contemporary audience.

       Macbeth is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare. The language used by Shakespeare is open to reinterpretation. Different people who read it will understand it in different ways. The text has many different meanings. This means that as the audience's changes socially, politically, economically and culturally there will be a different interpretation. The concept of 'witches' is continually open to reinterpretation.

     In the 16th century the audience was not like it is today. People in general believed in witches. It was thought that they were a real presence. Magic was a common subject and quite normal. However, witches were also thought to be evil and were therefore killed. An example of this was 'The Witch Trials' where James I executed hundreds of young women because they were thought to be witches.

       However, in the 21st century, there is a completely different concept of witches. Magic is no longer believed in. therefore, witches are now an aspect of fiction. Any outside influence that cannot be explained is not said to be magic or luck, it is explained to us by psychiatrists to be some kind of phenomena of the human mind. This means basically that it is of our own imaginations.

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         This scene is the first encounter with the witches. In order to present it to a 16th century audience, I would present the witches as evil looking old women. They would be haggard and gnarled looking. This is how the audience would expect them to look. However, they would have a certain look of masculinity, this would throw the audience into disorder, which is wanted. This is because it would present something, which is the complete opposite of their common beliefs. Which are that men are the stronger sex and therefore rule over ...

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