Analytical exposition by Currer Bell. Comparing two film versions of Macbeth (Polanski and Wrights version) and concluding which is more appropriate for a year twelve audience.

Essay by kate123High School, 12th gradeA, April 2008

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There's no art,To find the play's construction in the film.

Boys, parties, schoolies, formal, friends and schoolwork. All vital aspects of Year Twelve which most students have under control. However when faced with seventeenth century Shakespeare, students’ self-assurance suddenly plummets. Self-confessed Shakespeare hopeless Kate Fitzpatrick explores two potentially helpful films for a younger audience.

Shakespeare’s play Macbeth has been reconstructed time and time again throughout the ages using various media. Two film interpretations, Roman Polanski’s 1971 classic and Geoffrey Wright’s 2007 modernised version, have construed contrasting attitudes and values whilst still accurately representing the original text. However, for a teenage audience, Wright’s modern interpretation would be more suitable than the classic version, due to Wright’s contemporary context and discourses.

Wright utilises the context to appeal directly to a young audience, relating to them through technological innovations, the manipulation of sex, drugs and alcohol, effective costuming, use of violence and various film techniques, whilst simultaneously giving viewers an insight into the play’s basic principles.

In contrast, Polanski’s version constantly foregrounds kingship, chaos and a patriarchal world view.

These discourses accurately represent Shakespeare’s original intended reading, however they do little for a young audience striving to understand the play, as they represent drastically outdated values and beliefs from the 17th century.

Violence is a discourse which is evident in both films, yet it is foregrounded differently by the directors. Shakespeare’s original text represents some violence, but it is not as dire as the directors’ depiction. Director of 90’s thriller Romper Stomper, Wright claims that he “wanted to make the most gruesome and violent film in Australian history, and have it censored”.

If he did not achieve this, he was not far from it. Audiences are left sick to their stomach after scenes such as the initial gunning down of the...