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Macbeth Comparative Essay - a Comparison of Two Macbeth Productions

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Two Tyrants In One

A Comparison of Two Macbeth Productions

William Shakespeare is known today as the greatest English poet and dramatist. Among his greatest plays was the Tragedy of Macbeth; a man who goes far enough to murder in order to become king. The play validates many themes such as the results of destructive qualities, such as the dangers of excessive ambition, the reversion of social bonds and the inversion of the natural order. Among the many interpretations of Macbeth, the original text of William Shakespeare and Rupert Goold's film adaptation can be compared in terms of the choices made for costumes, characterization and setting. Although both concentrate on many dramatic and historical events, Goold's version is more modernized because it focuses on gender roles in our society, uses historical figures from the 20th century and because it has many contemporary elements, such as music.

In William Shakespeare's version, the witches seem to be much more superstitious and ambiguous. Their way of talking seems to be much calmer and of old age. This generally sends the reader a traditional image of three typical witches: weak elderly women with larger-scaled noses dressed in black capes and hunched towards the front, maybe even on top of a cauldron mixing a potion. However, Rupert Goold interpreted them in a completely different way. The first setting takes place in a hospital. The three witches are dressed as nurses from World War 1 but are shown tearing the Captain's heart out. This is a concrete example of a theme from the original text of Macbeth: the perversion of gender roles. Nurses are supposed to be at hospitals to take care of you and are responsible for earning your trust. Also, in the next scene, the witches are in a dark room with Banquo, Macbeth's ally, and Macbeth, they are still dressed as nurses and even have their masks on. When talking to them, Banquo refers to them as ''evil lurking behind these masks.'' Although in the original text Shakespeare uses the term ''beard,'' Goold chose to demonstrate the traditional female role of nurture and caring by using nurses that take care of us today. Goold's version is much more significant because it uses nurses as examples or perversion of gender roles and what women represent in our contemporary world.

When Macbeth gains power in the original text, he asks for forgiveness for killing the Thane of Cawdor. He resigns to his fate and is unsure of the role that is given to him. This way, he seems to be much more emotional and sensitive to his surrounding. Nevertheless, the film version of Goold modernizes the character Macbeth by comparing him to many 20th century historical figures such as Nazi Germany's Hitler, Soviet Union's Stallone and Italy's Mussolini. The director uses these symbols of power (greed and

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