Essay, Research Paper: College Paper On Shakespeare


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MacBeth versions comparison essay There are many differences between
interpretations of William Shakespeare's MacBeth. This essay wall contrast
Shakespeare's original version and a movie version by Roman Polanski produced in
1970. Three major differences will be discussed. One difference between
Shakespeare's and Polanski's version is the absence of the scene in England in
Polanski's version. In the Original MacBeth, MacDuff goes to England to convince
Malcolm to return and fight MacBeth. The scene of the longest of the play; it is
very drawn out and lengthy. Polanski simply eliminates this scene and shows
Malcolm back in Scotland. The reason I feel that Polanski did this is that the
scene detracts from the continuity and action of the play. The play is equally
effective without the scene, and more streamlined. Another difference between
the original and Polanski's version is the scene where MacBeth kills the king,
Duncan. In the original, Shakespeare was not allowed to show the death of a
divine right ruler, so he showed MacBeth coming out of the king's bedchamber
after he had committed the murder. For Polanski's version, however, he had no
such limitation, and could show anything that he chose, so he showed the actual
murder of Duncan, where Duncan wakes up, and MacBeth cuts his throat after
stabbing him. The reason that Polanski inserted this scene was to show how
cold-blooded MacBeth was, and that he would do anything to achieve his goal of
becoming king. A third difference is the use of the letter that MacBeth writes
to his wife describing how he has become Thane of Cawdor and the witches' three
predictions. In the original, the letter was read by Lady MacBeth, and then not
mentioned again. In Polanski's version, Lady MacBeth takes out the letter after
everything with her and her husband's plan has gone wrong, reads it, and then
kills herself. The reason that Polanski did this is that the letter is a useful
device to cause Lady MacBeth to kill herself. She reads the letter, and it's all
this happy news, but she and MacBeth are miserable, and all the good things in
the letter have gone awry. There are scenes also in Polanski's version which are
not even included in the original. One of these such scenes would be the scene
where the traitors from the war are being executed. They are brutally hung with
cast iron brackets on their neck. This scene is very successful in showing the
brutal treatment of traitors, the treatment that MacBeth would get if he was
caught in his plan. The original did not do such a good job on this. Another of
these such scenes would be the dreams that MacBeth has about Fleance killing him
and Banquo helping him. Due to the extreme lack of technology in Shakespeare's
time, this was not possible. The dreams sequence serves to show how haunted
MacBeth's dreams are, and how worried he is about losing the throne to Fleance
because of the witches' predictions. There are many differences between these
two version of MacBeth, and each of them, I believe, serves it's own purpose to
enhance and better the play.
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