In this essay, I’m going to be comparing the presentation of Lady Macbeth in Act 1 Scene 5 with the filmed stage performance of the same scene by the Royal Shakespearean production, directed by Sir Trevor Nunn and with Dame Judi Dench in the role of Lady Macbeth. In the Shakespearean play, Shakespeare gives little indication to the characters how to play the character when and where to move and how to say their lines. The readers have to make their own interpretation. There background was just black so was the costumes it was really plain and and economically cheap.
However from the film we expected fancy costumes we imagined Lady Macbeth wearing an old fashioned dress we pictured her hair to be brown and we thought she would be much younger. In the film we expected her to be in her bedroom, as well as on some main lines such as ‘Hie thee hither ‘and ‘come you spirits’ we thought there might be powerful sound effects. In the letter scene we expected LM to be very different. In the play she starts reading the letter half way. However in the film, she starts with ‘Hail king that shalt be,’ this shows us that she has read the letter before and she knows what the letter says. Hail King that shalt be’ was repeated twice in the film this allows the audience to think she is obsessive about Macbeth becoming king and already she has ideas about killing the king. She reads the letter at a fast pace but, when she comes across the supernatural in the letter she stops and looks around this shows that she is very interested about the supernatural. In the play we expected her to be happy while reading ‘my dearest partner of greatness’ the word ‘partner sounds very businesslike as well as it emphasises her love and affection towards Macbeth.
However in the actual film she read it really casually it did not affect her. In the play we expected her to read the letter while she is in her bedroom however in the film she was pacing up and down as well as the background was plain black and she was wearing a black dress the colour black may represent the supernatural and the evil side of her. This enhances Nunn’s interpretation of her as a fourth witch. In the first soliloquy after the letter Lady Macbeth says ‘ Shalt be what thou art promised’ this quote shows that she is determined and really wants Macbeth to become the king.
As well as in the play she says ‘too full o’th’ milk of human kindnesses’ this gives the reader an impression that she knows her husband really well and she uses the word ‘milk’ for his pureness and kindness. ’ Further on in the soliloquy Lady Macbeth uses the line ‘Hie Thee Hither! ’ I expected her to shout that out because there is an exclamation mark at the end of the quote this indicated me that she was shouting. As well as the exclamation mark represents her excitement for the supernatural.
I imagined the lights being off and maybe have the sound of a storm, I also thought she might be on her knees begging and talking through the window I expected her to have a voice similar to a witch. From the play it seemed like she is calling the evil spirits that quote proves that she is really evil and she wants the murder to happen. However in the film she had really effective eye contact, the camera zoomed in on her face to allow the audience to see that she is thinking really deeply. Her eyes were moving around (searching) she had an evil brief smile.
When she said ‘Hie Thee Hither’ in the film she seemed very calm and took in a deep breath she seemed relieved and relaxed. In her second soliloquy, Lady Macbeth begins to reveal her true self. It seems that she will go through anything to persuade Macbeth to kill the king. Many critics argue that she appears to be the fourth witch. In the play Lady Macbeth talks directly to the spirits. In the quote ‘come you spirits. Murdering ministers ‘this leaves the readers thinking that she is praying to the evil spirits. By saying ‘come’ she uses verbs to call upon the supernatural.
The quote ‘under my battlements’ tells us that Lady Macbeth intends to bear the knife herself this is the first time she openly talks about murdering Duncan. In the play Lady Macbeth asks the evil spirits to ‘unsex her’ she wants to get rid of her feminine identity, compassion and her humanity. She also says ‘direst cruelty’ it’s a male characteristics this shows that she wants her femininity to be take away from her due to the fact that she wants to commit the murder however a male should take on that role in this case her husband Macbeth.
By asking the evil spirits to take her ‘milk for gall’ she is sacrificing her womanhood and identity for her husband Macbeth. The word ‘milk’ is used as an extended metaphor for womanhood. At the end of her second soliloquy she says ‘that my keen knife see not the wound it makes’ suggests that she has to be the one that commits the murder. In the film when Lady Macbeth talks about the raven on half of her face there is light on the other half is dark. The light represents the good in her and the dark represents the evil and the ‘Raven’ is Duncan.
In the film her eyes are darkened this may indicate that the evil spirits are near her. In the film she actually casts a spell. Before she starts calling the spirits there is a dramatic pause this shows that Lady Macbeth is composing herself she does a 360 turn that indicates a warning to the audience. Lady Macbeth bows down when she starts calling the spirits she looks very fearful. She whispers everything that she says and her hand starts trembling this may be a sign showing us that the evil spirit is trying to get into her. She says ‘cruelty’ in a very high pitched voice.
Lady Macbeth runs into the darkness this allows the audience to think that she is possessed and she can’t take the pain or she seen something fearful. The darkness may show her soul transfer. The darkness in her represents the witch side of her. From the darkness she comes back slowly as the fourth witch with a new identity. In the film when she says ‘murdering ministers’ you can see a possession in her. At the end of her second soliloquy when she says ‘Hold! Hold! ’ someone else is controlling her arms she seems physically accessible.
When Macbeth enters, Lady Macbeth demonstrates rhetoric, linguistic abilities. Lady Macbeth uses her femininity to persuade Macbeth. In the play Lady Macbeth greets her husband by saying ‘Great Glamis! Worthy Cawdor! ’ she is certainly determined for him. In the play we expect them to be very close to each other because they haven’t seen each other for a while. Lady Macbeth says ‘shall sun that morrow see! ’ The ‘sun’ represents light in this case it is Duncan. 6 syllables dramatic pause, shocked moment both of them think about the murder.
We expected Lady Macbeth to use her sexuality while trying to help him overcome his weaknesses. There is paradox between the serpent and the flower. When she says ‘serpent under’t’ we expect her to be harsh and forceful towards him. Lady Macbeth takes control and for the first time she mentions the murder to him ‘This night’s great business into my dispatch. ’ She is trying to tell him that she is capable of committing the murder, she also might of said that because she wants him to become like her evil.
In the phrase ‘Which shall to all our nights and days to come’ she is trying to say that she is doing all this for both of them however we know she is doing it for herself (selfish. ) ‘We will speak no more’ ellipsis represents her interruption. At the end she says ‘Leave all the rest to me’ this allows the readers to think that she has hardly been listening to him and treats him like a child she is not really interested in what he says because she knows what he is going to say and she knows she is going to get it her way.
In the film when Macbeth enters she is on her knees paying him respect. When Macbeth enters there is light the light represents goodness (Macbeth), paradox of light and dark. She runs to him hugs and kisses him passionately. This shows that they are in love and it emphasises their closeness. They continue to kiss through out, Lady Macbeth uses her femininity and sexuality to persuade Macbeth to kill Duncan. When she says ‘shall sun that morrow see’ she removes herself from him and looks deeply into his eyes.
She emphasises on the words ‘serpent’ and ‘my dispatch’ When she says ‘my dispatch’ she looks into his eyes trying to tell him that she is doing it for him. In the film she is very sexual towards him. Macbeth is almost hypnotised by her sexual passion and desire he’s almost forgot about everything because he is blinded by her love. She interrupts him and she speaks quickly to avoid him speaking further. Lady Macbeth smiles briefly this shows she was successful. In the film when she says ‘leave all the rest to me’ there’s darkness on her face, telling the audience she is up to something.