William Shakespeare's Macbeth Act 2 Scenes 1 and 2

William Shakespeare's Macbeth Act 2 Scenes 1 and 2
Shakespeare?s Macbeth was written between 1603 and 1606, in the time of King James I. The play was written because King James was a past Scottish king (King James the VI) whose ancestors featured in the historical story that Macbeth was based on. It also included the supernatural, a subject that King James was fascinated by and even wrote a book on, ?Demonology?. Such supernatural points include the three witches that start the chain of events, the strange occurrences that happen after Duncan?s murder and the apparitions that appear to Macbeth throughout the play. Witchcraft was believed in Shakespeare?s times and being a witch was punishable by death as they were allied with Satan. The play also compliments King James as in the true story, the character Banquo (James? ancestor) was a traitor who helped Macbeth and in Shakespeare?s story, Banquo was cast as a hero who was murdered by Macbeth. In this essay I will attempt to show how I would direct Act 2 scenes 1 and 2 (the ones before and after the murder of King Duncan) as a film. For scene 1 I will begin by describing the surroundings in the scene. The film will be set in the time of medieval Scotland, as it is the most appropriate time to place the play. The sky will be pitch black with very little lighting in the area, only dribbling candles and small fires. The moon will be blanketed in thick cloud, further enhancing the darkness of the scene and using pathetic fallacy to great effect. The dagger later in the scene will not be visible to the audience, to emphasise that Macbeth is losing grip with reality and gradually turning mad. There will be dramatic music when he sees the dagger and it will gradually increase in tempo as the speech continues, dropping to normal at line 45 and cutting off to silence at line 62. This I feel will add drama to the moment, as it is the focus of the scene. The iambic pentameter will not be used, as seems inappropriate in a film production and makes the words harder to understand nowadays. In Shakespeare?s time, iambic pentameter was commonly used by royalty and nobility, in conversation with commoners. I will however stick to using Shakespeare?s original script, as it is arguably the finest form of English writing of the time, and continues to influence playwrights today. Macbeth must act surprised and wary when he sees the dagger and may also use gestures and body language to stress this. For scene 2 I will also stick with the dark, dreary atmosphere, however if it?s possible I will make this scene darker as now King Duncan is dead and its unnatural cause makes the world seem incomplete and different from normal. Macbeth now acts as if he is even more nervous than previously as he has now carried out his threat and now can?t go back on what he has done. This has been decided as I have interpreted lines 77-78 "Wake Duncan with thy knocking: I wish thou couldst." As that Macbeth now regrets his decision and wants it to be undone. Lady Macbeth, however is stronger and is depended on to keep her head in the situation. I have derived this acting manner from the following quotes: ?That which has made them drunk, hath made me bold; What had quench?d them, had given me fire." (Lines 1-2). Here, Lady Macbeth has drunk with the chamberlains and is now braver to face the grim task of the murder. ?Give me the daggers, the sleeping and dead are but as pictures;? (Lines 56-57). Here Lady Macbeth has enough sense to remove the evidence of their guilt and shortly later makes a cruel pun to disguise the situation. The actual murder will be shown in my version as in the film version by Roman Polanski, as it used symbolism such as the falling of the crown to great effect and such use in my version will make the murder very real to the audience, who would otherwise misinterpret the scenes and their importance to the play?s ideals of the supernatural.

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