Movie adaptations

We adapt according to the tastes of the day

Shakespeare’s Macbeth has been staged in widely different versions and adapted into numerous films. (This study guide does not go into any stage versions). Each adaptation differs - partly because actors and directors present their individual take on the story, and partly because the play has been adapted to the tastes of the day. Whether, for instance, Lady Macbeth is portrayed in a positive or a negative light may vary according to the view of women at the time. 

When working with an adaptation of Macbeth, you should pay particular attention to how the director has decided to portray controversial elements such as the role of women or the supernatural. For instance, some have chosen to show the floating dagger and Banquo’s ghost to the audience while others have left it out (the latter underlines Macbeth’s paranoia). 

Another element to pay attention to is whether the adaptation stays loyal to the original lines of the play or whether they have been rewritten int...

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