Roman Polanski’s Version of Macbeth

Authors Avatar
In my piece of course work I am going to compare Shakespeare's original Act 1 scene i from Macbeth, to Roman Polanski's modern film. Shakespeare wrote his play to be performed on stage. Elizabethan stages were in open air and had no curtains and no lighting so all performances had to take place in the afternoon. This meant that Macbeth had to depend heavily on words and descriptions of the atmosphere, to paint the scene. Polanski made a film this meaning that he could use special effects, shoot scenes from different locations and at different times during the day. Polanski also had the freedom to put what he thought would be appropriate into the film as he was directing this film for a modern day audience to be entertained. Taking this into account we can see how Polanski would need to change the original script.

Act 1 scene i is the opening scene in which we first meet the witches. In Macbeth's play it is situated on a Scottish heath however in Polanski's version it is set on a beach. There are many reasons why he may have decided upon a beach but I believe that it was because it is where the water meets the land making it easier for the witches to spread their evil. Also perhaps because no one can hide on a beach and this would show their confidence and belief in their evil magic. Polanski also decided to have a red sky this could be connected to the saying 'red sky in morning Shepherd's warning' or it could represent Scotland's blood or Scotland under Macbeth's tyrannous reign.
Join now!

The scene is shot in the morning this represents a brand new day. The witches prepare a spell for Macbeth and at this early stage Macbeth has a choice of whether or not he wants to commit to evil and believe the witches prophecies.

When preparing the spell the witches draw a circle in the sand this could represent the circle of life or evil. In the circle they place a hangman's rope, which could be a symbol of the first thane of Cawdor and how he was hanged for being a traitor, or it could stand ...

This is a preview of the whole essay