Polanski Macbeth

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The sample essay on Polanski Macbeth deals with a framework of research-based facts, approaches and arguments concerning this theme. To see the essay’s introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion, read on.

Polanski’s film version of Macbeth is interesting when studied closely. It contains a lot of references to themes in the play, but also illustrates Polanski’s own interpretation of the play. Polanski made a few noticeable changes when converting text to film, with some scenes being added to the film and others being left out of the film version.

I will attempt to demonstrate the ideas and thoughts behind this particular version of Macbeth and in doing so I hope to intensify my own viewing experience. A good way of improving a film’s effect is to analyse the different scenes and find some hidden interpretations and effects.

The film begins with a scene that was not in the original text, but was added by Polanski. It starts with a hazy, foggy beach, and we can hear the waves against the shore, giving us an idea of the surroundings.

The witches slowly appear from this fog as the camera pans out. Once they reach the foreground, they begin to dig a hole in the sand. Once the hole is complete, they place in it a severed forearm clutching a dagger, along with a hangman’s noose. The severed hand has many opportunities for interpretations, but it seems to symbolise murder more than anything else. The dagger itself is a tool for murder, and the arm is gruesomely detached from its owner, so is, in a way, connected with murder.

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The hangman’s noose is another murder tool but also carries with it the theme of justice, as it was used as a form of punishment.

Polanski Macbeth Full Movie

Then, the witches pour blood over the murder ‘ensemble’ as if to complete a spell. After filling the hole, they fade out in to the background, much the same way as their entrance. The use of blood so early on in the play is intriguing, as this image recurs a lot throughout Shakespeare’s text version.

The witches’ appearance is anything but glamorous. There are three, each seeming to differ in age. There is the younger one, a more middle-aged one and the last seems to be an old “crone”. The witches’ clothes are made of rags, leading us to believe that they are not associated with normal society.

After this added scene, the film moves on to the battle report, and following that, we see Macbeth on the Scottish moors. This is the stage in the text where he meets the witches for the first time. The scene in the film is accompanied by a depressing bagpipe tune which places an uncertainty in to the viewers mind.

The first soliloquy of the film is shown as a close-up of Macbeth. The speech is presented as a voiceover. I think Polanski uses this method of presenting the soliloquy because it shows that Macbeth is actually thinking the words and not saying them. This is not the case in most stage productions as voiceovers are difficult in front of a live audience. This method enhances the atmosphere of the play and makes it seem more realistic.

Going back to the subject of the witches, Macbeth meets them again in Act IV, but extra witches have been added to the scene. This makes the whole thing seem like some sort of ceremony or celebration. One interesting aspect of this scene is that none of the witches are wearing clothes. They are all completely naked. This portrays a sense of poverty, but also puts across the theme of the super-natural. When Macbeth arrives at this congregation of witches, they are concocting a potion, which he duly drinks. This leads to the visions of apparitions, the eight kings. As Macbeth sinks into a dream world, the camera spins around him in a wild fashion, making it look like Macbeth is extremely dizzy.

This nudity is also shown by Lady Macbeth when she goes mad, which may mean that Polanski saw Lady Macbeth as being linked with the witches somehow. Also, Lady Macbeth tends to speak of evil throughout the text.

The film, of course, is full of supernatural references. It both begins and ends with witches (which are both scenes added by Polanski). There are also many other references to the supernatural elements, which include the apparitions that appear before Macbeth, and the Ghost of Banquo that appears in the banquet scene.

The banquet scene is done very well in the play, especially with the appearance of Banquo’s Ghost. The audience can see the ghost, as can Macbeth, but the guests sitting around the table act innocent. The audience then feels the same perplexity as Macbeth, and the truth is only exposed as Macbeth realises the truth. When Macbeth gets a closer look at the Ghost of Banquo, the camera also pans in for a close up. The audience gets a chance to witness the brutality of Banquo’s injuries, and this intensifies the atmosphere of the scene. Macbeth now realises that it is in fact a ghost that stands before him. His reaction to this information is brilliantly shown, and makes the scene look much more realistic.

One scene I thought was shown inadequately was the soliloquy scene in which Macbeth decides to assassinate Duncan. The dagger involved in this scene (Macbeth visualises a dagger and this then influences his decision to kill Duncan) is extremely poorly portrayed. Even though the film was made in 1971, the technology used to ‘generate’ the dagger was dreadfully utilised. The scene would have looked much better had it not contained a dagger at all. If Macbeth had pretended to see a dagger (which the audience would not see) then the tension would have been increased. The scene would have a peculiar and eerie appearance to it as Macbeth seems to be interacting with thin air. The audience would soon recognize that there is actually a dagger in Macbeth’s mind and once this is realised, Macbeth would have decided to kill Duncan. This would have made the scene a lot better, compared to the superimposed dagger that was originally used.

In my opinion, I think Polanski’s film version of Macbeth is very well produced. It has it’s faults, which can be more or less put down to the available technology. The supernatural effects in the film are shown in a way that captivates the audience and increases the atmosphere of the play. His version, as a conversion from the text, is brilliant in its content. He brings in nearly all of the scenes from the text, and adds more of his own, to great effect.

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Polanski Macbeth. (2019, Dec 07). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/paper-on-polanskis-interpretations-of-shakespeares-macbeth/

Polanski Macbeth
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