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Modern Parallels

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michaella ballas

on 1 June 2014

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Transcript of Modern Parallels

Modern Parallels
Setting the scene
In both Shakspeare’s and Brozel’s Macbeth, Act 3 scene 4 is set at a meeting hosted by Macbeth and Lady Macbeth with a banquet prepared for all of Macbeth’s closest men. By this stage of the play Macbeth is King or restaurant entrepreneur in the movie, and the murderer who was sent to kill Banquo or as he is called in the movie, Billy, has just come back to tell Macbeth he has done the job as told.
Parallels and differences
and how they are portrayed
The scene of the movie begins with Macbeth giving a toast and passing around his cookbook. He says ‘I want to give you all one of these [books] as a gesture of thanks for all the blood, sweat and tears over the last few weeks…cheers guys thankyou so much!’ In the play, once all the guests are seated Macbeth also makes a toast to ‘good digestion wait on appetite and health on both.’ This gesture shows Macbeth’s good cheer and that he is being a welcoming host towards his guests. In the play Macbeth then comments on Banquo’s absence and how he hopes that he has not arrived purely out of his ‘unkindness than pity for mischance’ that could have happened to him. In the movie this idea is conveyed by Lady Macbeth who has been renamed as ‘Ella’, asking where Billy is and stating that ‘he should be here.’ Macbeth checks his phone and listens to a message from Billy telling Macbeth he will ‘see [him] at breakfast.’ Macbeth does this so his guests don’t suspect anything bad has happened to Billy or that Macbeth has done something to contribute to Billy’s absence.
Overview
In Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ and Brozel’s take on a modern ‘Macbeth- Shakespeare Retold,’ there are clear similarities such as the storyline, characters’ emotions and motives as well as the main ideas of the play. There are however apparent differences as Brozel version has been adapted to fit a modern day setting. This includes the dialogue, setting and the names of some characters.

Shakespeare’s Macbeth is set in the 1600’s among the Scottish royalty and their lords and ladies. Macbeth kills with the objective to become king and stay in power. Brozel’s take on Macbeth however, is set in modern day Scotland behind the doors of a prestigious, three Michelin star restaurant. Brozel’s character Macbeth is the head chef, thirsty for the credit and ownership of the restaurant he has worked so hard to build up. ‘Joe’ Macbeth begins with murdering his boss Duncan to acclaim power and ownership of the restaurant and just like in Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ this leads him to his own downfall.

Parallels and differences...
In the play, the murderer comes to the door at the beginning of the feast with ‘blood upon [his] face’ to prove to Macbeth that he killed Banquo. Macbeth talks to him privately, which is indicated by the fact that Lady Macbeth must go and get him. She tells him he ‘[does] not give the cheer’ and without his presents the guests do not feel welcome. In the movie, this idea is portrayed differently. Macbeth receives a video message and his phone rings in front of everyone bringing in suspense as to what the message will reveal. Once opened, his phone shows video footage of ‘Billy [on] the bike’ which all of his guests proceed to view. Once Macbeth realises it is video proof that Billy has been murdered he leaps across the table, snatches the phone out of Macduff’s hands and yells ‘DON’T’ in an attempted to hide the murder. Macbeth acts this way because he feels very vulnerable that his guests may find out what he has done and is not in a stable state of mind. He feels terribly guilty for plotting Billy’s death however necessary he felt it at the time. Macbeth’s insanity is beginning to show through his actions and interaction with other people.
Parallels and differences
Lady Macbeth justifies Macbeth’s irrational behaviour by stating that ‘he has not been himself’. His guests wait for him to cool down and ‘Roddy’, Brozel’s character for Ross asks Macbeth to ‘come and sit down’. In the play, Ross asks Macbeth to ‘grace [the guests] with [his] royal company’ however, in both the play and the movie, as Macbeth looks at his empty seat he sees Banquo’s dead body sitting in it. In the movie, Macbeth screams in horror at his hallucination to ‘get away from [him]’. In the play, Macbeth talks to his hallucination and says to Banquo’s ghost, ‘thou canst not say I did it; never shack thy gory locks at me!’ His reaction to the hallucination certifies Macbeth’s insanity and lets the audience know that he is in an unhealthy state of mind, incapable of distinguishing his own fantasies from reality. Macbeth has no interest in entertaining his guests, he simply wants to make Banquo’s ghost go away. This is clear in the play as he is yelling at the ghost his men cannot see, in front of his guests even after Lady Macbeth tells him his ‘noble friends do lack [him].’ In the Movie after seeing the ghost Macbeth demands the guest ‘leave [him] alone.’ This behaviour shows that he is absorbed in his own insanity and cannot look after his own well being, let along rule over a country or manage a restaurant and his employees. This links to later parts in the movie where Macbeth serves ‘lamb [that] isn’t cooked properly’ because he is too absorbed in his hallucinations of blood and murder to worry about the reality.
Parallels and differences
In the play, Lady Macbeth persists with holding the feast and tells her guests ‘the fit is momentary [and] upon a thought [Macbeth] will again be well.’ She questions Macbeth’s masculinity and asks him if he is ‘a man.’ She reminds him that he ‘look[s] but on a stool’ however Macbeth continues to ramble on about the ghost asking it to ‘quit [his] sight.’ Afraid the guests will find out what Macbeth has done Lady Macbeth requests her guests ‘stand not upon the order of [their] going, but go at once’ for the fear Macbeth ‘grows worse and worse.’ In the movie, Ella does not ask her guests to stay but rather all ‘go and set up for lunch’ as she realises Macbeth is going insane and may revel what he has done. In both versions Lady Macbeth speaks with authority and the guest do as she tells them. She does not understand what Macbeth is hallucinating and therefore cannot relate to what he is going through.
Scene:
Play: Act 3 scene 4, line 32-120
Movie: Ch 14, 1:27-4:30

By Michaella Ballas
Copy the link below to watch the movie and go to chapter 14, 1:27 minutes in:
http://online.clickview.com.au/Share/Play?p=EM5U
Copy the link below for a digital copy of the play:
http://www.shakespeare-navigators.com/macbeth/T43.html
Images and Ideas evoked in the scene
In this part of the play images and ideas of insanity, guilt and gender roles are explored. Macbeth is clearly going insane as he ‘looks but on a stool’ only to see the ghost of Banquo with ‘gory locks’ staring back at him. He sees Banquo’s ‘marrorless’ bones, ‘cold’ blood and ‘speculation in [his] eyes which … dost glare’ back at him. Macbeth makes a spectacle of himself in front of his guests as he challenges the ghost like a ‘Russian bear.’ Ideas of insanity are portrayed in the film as Macbeth sees Billy’s ghost and orders it to ‘get away from [him]’ whilst scrambling about on the floor.

It is clear Macbeth feels guilty about the murder otherwise he would not be hallucinating a dead Banquo. The ghost has come back to haunt him ‘with twenty mortal murders on [his] crown.’ Brozel makes this obvious in the movie as Macbeth whispers ‘sorry’ to the ghost of Banquo. His actions and the guilt brought on by them are taking a toll on his mental state and causing him to go mad.

Gender roles are explored in the play as Lady Macbeth questions if Macbeth is ‘a man’. She tells her husband he is acting like a woman telling a ‘story at a winter’s fire’ and says the way he is acting is ‘unmann’d.’ Lady Macbeth defends her husband’s behaviour as something that has occurred ‘from his youth.’ She acts calmly as he frantically stresses over a fantasy. Gender roles are portrayed in the film as Ella talks with authority and order to the workers. She justifies her husband’s obscene behaviour as Macbeth just not ‘being himself’

Although there is much less dialogue in this scene of the movie than in the play, the storyline, images and ideas presented are the same. Brozel uses music to create suspense and shoots from different angles to portray different character’s points of view. There are close ups throughout the scence panning over each person's face and mid shots of the whole dinner table. Brozel focuses on Macbeth as he lies on the floor from the table view. The music used to open the scene is instrumental and repeats throughout the entire movie. The phone rings loudly and the characters all stare at it before Macbeth answers it to create suspense and an element of surprise. There are pauses of silence in the scene to make the viewer wonder what will happen next. The room's lighting is dark and gloomy, like the crime Macbeth has commit. Brozel shows the transition from a good willed welcoming host of Macbeth into an insane and delusional mess of a man within this one scene.
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