Resource 4 – Discussion Points2018-03-13T10:36:13+00:00

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Resource 4: Discussion Points

Why does this film take place in an artificial globe or heavenly sphere? What is the significance of this choice?

  • Ask pupils to read the Making Of Macbeth and the brochure and think about why the filmmakers chose to make the film’s playing space so unusual. Pupils might suggest ideas such as:
    • Fate – thematically, the use of a heavenly sphere suggests that the play’s characters are being operated on by outside forces and that their destinies may be outside of their control. The idea of the stars governing our actions is something that Shakespeare frequently referred to in his work.

“My stars shine darkly over me: the malignancy of my fate might perhaps distemper yours.”

Twelfth Night
Act 2. Scene 1 , Sebastian

“It is the stars, The stars above us, govern our conditions.”

King Lear
Act 4, Scene 3 , Kent
  • Artificiality of the performance. The filmmakers argue that they were keen to create a film which created the type of relationship between audience and production as one might usually expect in a theatrical performance. By creating a deliberate layer of artificiality (to which the unreal ‘sphere’ setting contributes) the filmmakers are placing us firmly in the position of an audience at a play. The sphere becomes a kind of fourth wall that accentuates the artifice (as does, for example, the presence of the Porter/Curator and the transparent staircases). Remind pupils that Shakespeare himself would frequently inform his audience of the ‘inadequacies’ of the stage and remind them that they were watching a play (Think when we speak of horses that you see them Henry V, prologue, Chorus)

Make a list of everything that you remember from the movie that was a specific directorial choice and not actually in the play (e.g. The funeral of Duncan) Ask pupils to consider why these choices have been made.

Why do you think the director moved the ‘Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow’ monologue? In Shakespeare’s text it appears as a reaction to Lady Macbeth’s death. Here, it becomes Macbeth’s swansong. He gives up his fight with Macduff and speaks the lines as he seemingly decides that it is time to die. Analyse the speech with your class and discuss whether there are any clues here that suggest Macbeth is tired and weary and ready to simply give up his life.

Why don’t we see Banquo’s ghost? (note that pupils may remember that a number of soliloquys and monologues are performed direct to camera in keeping with the filmmakers’ desire to create something that communicates directly with the audience and gives the audience a theatrical fixed perspective rather than a multi-angle perspective). What is the effect of having the audience positioned where Banquo would be seated, and having Macbeth speak directly to each audience member (and even spit at them!) as if THEY were Banquo?

How is Duncan portrayed in the film? Is he a magnanimous king? Is there any suggestion that he is a less benevolent character that he is sometimes portrayed as?