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Macbeth Literary Analysis

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In this essay I will be comparing how Roman Polanski, Trevor Nunn and Anne Ross Muir have produced the play Macbeth and how they have portrayed the witches. Different directors each have a different point of view, their own opinions about things and the ability to make different decisions. The three different directors have produced the Macbeth scenes in a different way, and the scripts have been interpreted by each director differently. Roman Polanski started act one, scenes one at the seaside.

Roman Polanski has presented the first witch as blind about sixty years old and wearing dark clothing. The second witch was about forty five years old, she was wearing shabby clothing and had wrinkly skin. The third witch looked very young about twenty three years old, she had a few pimples on her cheeks and she had blond hair. The witches dig up a hole in the sand and place three objects in the sand which are; a dagger placed in a severed hand and a noose. They then cover up the three objects with sand and pour blood on top of the sand and then spit on the surface.

It seemed as though the witches were casting a spell. I think that the noose represented the killing of the Thane of Cawdor because he was going to be hanged, the dagger was to kill the king and the severed hand holding the dagger was representing Macbeth’s hand. The first words spoken in Roman Polanski’s version scene one are, “Fair is foul and foul is fair, hover through the fog and filthy air. ” I think that Roman Polanski used these words because he wanted to show the audience that the witches are not normal and are not people from the normal world.

The witches say “Fair is foul and foul is fair” which means the way the witches communicate between each other is different from other people because they speak in an opposite manner from normal people. Once the witches had finished making the spell they got up and started to walk away. The first witch and the third walked off together whilst the second witch walked off in another direction. I think that the third witch is a sort of companion towards the first witch because of the first witch’s blindness disability.

The third witch is a vital member of the three witches but she also has to help the first witch. In scene three of the play Roman Polanski has shown the first witch rubbing the third witch’s back. I think this is to show that the first witch helps the third witch and vice versa. So far in scenes one and three the third witch has not said a word, not even in the spell. Maybe this could be one of her disabilities. Once Macbeth and Banquo come the witches have used a method similar to catching a fish.

They greet him “Hail” then they tell Macbeth information about himself that he likes, this is in the form of bait the witches walk down the hillside and Macbeth follows. The witches now know that Macbeth is interested in what they are saying. Trevor Nunn has produced Macbeth in black and white. You can see that the witches age range is very similar to the witches in Roman Polanski’s version of Macbeth. You see the three witches screaming, getting louder and louder. Whilst the witches are screaming Duncan was dressed in white clothing and was praying in Latin.

The witches were wearing dark furry clothing. I think that in this part of the play Trevor Nunn was trying to show that Duncan was holy and the witches were evil. All the witches seemed clean and normal except one, the third witch. It seemed as tough she had some kind of mental problem. She had her head tilted to one side and was drooling. It seamed as though she was in some kind of trance. I think that this was the part where the witches were casting a spell and the third witch was some kind of medium.

Anne Ross Muir has produced Macbeth in colour and in modern society. You see the three witches as three normal women. It does not seem as though the witches have any disabilities. The witches are young, in their mid twenties perhaps, all three were dressed in an ordinary way. The witches are wearing a lot of jewellery and have long purple nails. When you see the witches casting a spell they have mystical signs on their cheeks and necks. They use tarot cards to make their spells instead of using a severed arm, dagger and a noose in Roman Polanski’s case.

The witches also used the tarot cards to pick their victims. Whilst casting the spell the witches were sitting in a circular shape and there were candles lit around them. It seemed as though seen one was set in some sort of car park. In scene three you see the witches wearing masks so that their facial features could not be seen. The witches were not walking to travel around, but were wearing roller blades this all fits in with modern society. All three versions of Macbeth were different. In Roman Polanski’s version he missed out a lot of text from the script.

I think he does this because he may have thought that the parts he missed out were irrelevant to the effect he was trying to portray about the witches. Roman Polanski set scene one at the seaside but in the text version of Macbeth scene one is set on the heath. I think that Roman Polanski set scene one on the seaside because he may have thought that it was a better way of showing how to make a spell. How ever Trevor Nunn had made his version of Macbeth in black and white to get a better effect, for example the screaming. The starting of scene one was very different from either Roman Polanski’s or Anne Ross Muir’s.

In the versions by Roman Polanski and Trevor Nunn the witches are a very similar age but in Anne Ross Muir’s version the witches are very young. I think that Roman Polanski and Trevor Nunn were trying to portray the fact that people have an image in their mind that witches are old hags who have black cats and broomsticks to fly about on. Roman Polanski and Trevor Nunn have kind of stuck by this idea but not to the full extent. They have both used a different age span among the three witches to show that all different people can be witches, even young people.

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