Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Macbeth Cinematic/Thematic Essay Assignment

Part I
A    “Were such things here as we do speak about?
Or have we eaten on the insane root
That takes the reason prisoner?”
- Banquo (1.3.85-87)

B    In this part of the play, Banquo is alone with Macbeth and the three witches have just vanished into thin air. In this quote, Banquo is basically asking if everyone is going crazy. Banquo is a strong man with a good head on his shoulders. Although, the message the witches gave him made him question what was really happening. Banquo now knew that he needed to watch his back because how could his kids be kings and not him? He started feeling suspicious and put a wall up.

C    Robert Goold, the director of Macbeth, used many cinematic devices to help emphasize all of the quotes I was looking for. The setting for this quote was very dark, mysterious, and eerie. There was very little lighting; the only shining light was shown upon Banquo and Macbeth, and it wasn’t even very bright. While Banquo was saying his line, there were no other sounds except for a faint, fearful, background hum.
In this scene, Banquo and Macbeth are walking away from the spot where the three witches had vanished. This room they are walking in is very big and abandoned. They are wearing uniforms that are covered in what looks like dirt. The camera is at a high angle, creating an allusion that they are small and weak. The camera is also tracking back with them as they walk.

D    When I first read the quote in the play during class, it didn’t seem like such a powerful quote, but after seeing it in the film, I really got to hear the tone Banquo spoke in and that made it much more serious. There was a quiver to his voice and also the lighting made it a much darker atmosphere than I would have thought from reading the play. I personally have a good imagination, but this quote was very different on film than it was in my head.

Part II
A    “It was the owl that shriek’d, the fatal bellman,
Which gives the stern’st good-night.”
- Lady Macbeth (2.2.3-4)

B    Lady Macbeth has a lot of power over Macbeth himself. Everything in the play started when Lady Macbeth became power hungry. This quote from her is a look behind her twisted mind. She is comparing the final deed of killing King Duncan with the shriek of an owl. When the shriek disappears, so does Duncan’s life, like a goodnight for good.
C    I don’t really remember what I thought when I first read this in the play, but the film made it very clear how Shakespeare was portraying this scene. The setting was very dark and other than Lady Macbeth talking, the only sound was the same dark, creeping background hum from my earlier quote. The camera was at her eye level to Lady Macbeth. She was wearing her dress clothes from dinner and she was alone, pressed up against a wall in a chamber, and she was acting drunk.

D    This is the part of the play where Macbeth kills King Duncan and I thought seeing this in the film, you could really see how sick Lady Macbeth is. She is in a room alone, talking to herself, and comparing the death of King Duncan to an owl which seems to be a somewhat harmless animal. This quote screams power corrupts because it goes to show that Lady Macbeth has her hold over Macbeth and can manipulate him into doing whatever he needs to get on top.

Part III
A    “Show his eyes, and grieve his heart;
Come like shadows, so depart!”
- Three Witches (4.1.121-122)

B    The witches are very scary. They also have a big hold on Macbeth, just like Lady Macbeth does. Macbeth believes what the witches tell him because they have powers unlike any other. They tell Macbeth what he wants to hear, and that fuels his fire. The Weird Sisters are very powerful in this play help run the show.

C    Robert Goold managed to make this the scariest part of the whole film. When the witches show the apparitions to Macbeth, the camera work and editing was out of control. The lighting was above them, yet it was still dark and mysterious. The Weird Sisters walked forward as they spoke in unison, wearing their nurse outfits, yet the camera stood still. This made them appear bigger in the end than the beginning, showing their power in a metaphorical way.

D    Reading the play, I didn’t think this quote could be as scary as it was in the film. I was literally shaking in my chair! The editing and action of the witches was very good and they really made the quote stand out. I feel that this quote fits into superstition affects human behavior because Macbeth is so intrigued with what these three women have to say and he is afraid to not listen to them.

Part IV
A    “When our actions do not,
Our fears do make us traitors.”
- Lady Macduff (4.2.4-5)

B    Lady Macduff wasn’t a major character in my eyes, but this quote of hers was very powerful. She is addressing patience and conscience. Macduff has flown and she is alone with her kids. She is upset that he left, but she doesn’t understand what he had to do. She feels he is dead to her, but that is because she is afraid to face the truth.

C    This part of the movie came and went very quickly. The camera was at eye level but wasn’t straight on. The right side of her face was shadowed and there wasn’t much movement. She was speaking in a whisper, as if she were keeping this quote a secret. She was in her house speaking to Lennox and, from reading the play, I knew she was going to be murdered after, so there was a sense of suspense to this scene.

D    While reading, this quote only stuck out because of the message behind it. I thought this was a very wise quote, but when seeing it on film, it didn’t really pop out to me. I had to go back online and find the quote, and I was really hoping that it would have a powerful build up. When looking the second time, the whisper in Lady Macduff’s voice made it seem more powerful than reading it, but this quote wasn’t as stellar as I imagined it to be.


  1. 2. Although Megan and I didn't share any of the same quotes, we did both use a quote from Lady Macbeth. I described Lady Macbeth as powerful and scheming, and Megan said that she would do anything to get on top. We both feel the same way about her because both of our quotes are an example of the same thing. I think that Megan and I can both agree that Lady Macbeth is very twisted, especially in the portion of the play in which she talks about killing Duncan.

    3. My favorite quote out of Megan's four would be the last one that Lady Macduff had said. "When our actions do not,
    Our fears do make us traitors." I liked this quote because as Megan said, I believe it was very powerful. The realization that sometimes you do things out of fear that you don't always believe in is really smart. You never know why people do the things that they do. Knowing that sometimes it isn't their fault and that they were almost forced to be that way because of fear or pressure is a good way to think about things.

    4. I think that out of these four quotes, the quote that was most effectively put into the film was the quote said by Lady Macbeth. Just from reading, you knew that something was off with this woman and that she was very dominant and controlling. Seeing her say this in the movie, especially because it was her alone, made it very real and intense. There was a lot of emotion portrayed that made it even more intriguing to watch. Seeing Lady Macbeth on camera was a great way to actually understand how twisted and powerful she was.

  2. 2. Both myself and Megan had quotes that were said by Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth is perhaps the most determined character in the play. Everything she quotes is said with evil. Both my quote and Megan’s quote shows how power hungry Lady Macbeth is. However, my quote was when Lady Macbeth was having a conversation with her husband, and Megan’s quote is when she is talking to herself. Either way, both of the quotes said by this threatening character show her evil side.

    I also had about the same type of atmosphere in my scene as Megan did. Both were in a dark, eerie room and the lighting was shown on Lady Macbeth’s face to show the strong character she is.

    3. My favorite quote out the four was the last one said by Lady Macbeth:

    “When our actions do not,

    Our fears do make us traitors.”

    - Lady Macduff (4.2.4-5)

    I thought that this quote was most interesting because Lady Macbeth finally realized that she was alone after all she had been through. This quote is very unique and never really stood out to me until I read it here. As Megan mentions, this quote is very wise and has a huge message behind it which makes it even more powerful.

    4. Out of the four Macbeth quotes, the one i thought was best portrayed and the most interesting was the one said by the three witches:

    “Show his eyes, and grieve his heart;

    Come like shadows, so depart!”

    - Three Witches (4.1.121-122)

    All of the scenes that the witches happened to be in were extremely intense and almost scary. I felt as though particular scenes could have came right out of a horror movie. I also thought it was interesting that the play version of Macbeth portrayed these three as witches whereas in the film they were nurses, or angels of death.

  3. Nice post! I am 100% agreed with you. Thanks for sharing this information.
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