Kurosawa vs Shakespeare

Essay by nwildes24University, Bachelor'sA-, May 2004

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Kurosawa and Shakespeare: Are they One?

Taking a deceptively deep look into the minds of the sole creators, who have the supreme reign over the worlds of foreign film and drama, do we begin to scratch the surface with some of the most compelling and intricate arguments surrounding Throne of Blood and Macbeth. Are Throne of Blood and Macbeth rather mere equals of one another? Why does Kurosawa receive so much recognition when all he has done is "piggy-back" the most famous drama writer of all time? These are questions raised repeatedly, and are at the fore front of some of the best debates of all time. According to Andrew McLean, Peter Brook observed that the Throne of Blood is "perhaps the only true masterpiece inspired by Shakespeare, but it cannot properly be considered Shakespeare because it doesn't use the text" (McLean p.71). Michael Mullin has suggested that Kurosawa's film "is a thing in itself."

(McLean p.71)

In looking within Kurosawa's Throne of blood and Shakespeare's Macbeth, Macduff is portrayed to that of a peasant, really having no true bearing within the realm of the story, along with the murder of his followers. Cathy Cupitt goes on to say that with Macduff portrayed as a peasant, it "...destroys the heroic and righteous moral ending of Macbeth. Instead we have the much more ambiguous mass assassination. This can be read as the ultimate betrayal in a fundamentally corrupt society, or it can be read as a hopeful assertion of the power of the working class against the corruption of their leaders" (Cupitt p.1). According to Andrew McLean, "...Kurosawa has left both the intent and effect of Shakespeare's Macbeth behind" (McLean p.71). Kurosawa's Throne of Blood can be seen as moral depiction of man, and the decisions he encounters in building the...