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Transcript of Macbeth
Kurosawa and the Rules of Tragedy - Character
Key elements of Character - Recap
Protagonist must be good in some way
Fitness of Character, true to life.
Kurosawa's early Macbeth/Washizu
Kurosawa's Late Macbeth/Washizu
Kurosawa's Early Lady Macbeth/Asaji
Kurosawa's Late Lady Macbeth/ Asaji
Starts at a position of exaltation/honour in order to set up downfall
"For brave Macbeth, - well he deserves that name," (Sergeant - I, i, 16)
Characters' personalities must be believable
Throne f Blood
Asaji’s mask breaks
at beginning, Asaji looks down w/ no expression wearing her noh mask
fitting for Japanese woman, to be refined and quiet
Guilt shatters Asaji's mask (she has a conscience after all)
noh masks portray female/nonhuman characters
Asaji = demonic woman
Mask breaking = Asaji's demonic persona shattering, Asaji is actually human who feels remorse
Washizu in scene , most intimate scene in movie
"Fie, my lord, fie! A soldier, and afeard?"
(Lady Macbeth - 5.1.31-32)
"Here's the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand."
(Lady Macbeth - 5.1.42-43)
"What a sigh is there! The heart is sorely charged."
(Doctor - 5.1.44)
Throne of Blood
powerfully demonstrates the change in character found in Aristotle’s Rules of Tragedy, which skillfully exceeds Shakespeare’s representation in
Asaji's character immaculately follows Aristotle's Rules of Tragedy
Kurosawa successfully manages to adapt Shakespeare's Lady Macbeth
Kurosawa's different interpretation allows for a more powerful, tragic character
Asaji is seated, talking to the floor while she speaks to Washizu
She is manipulative
She uses force and fear to persuade Washizu
Asaji submerges into darkness
She has been transformed
Kurosawa uses her bold white gown, and the eerie noise it makes, to dramatize the scene
She is very ambitious and assumes control
Asaji knows the deed has been done, but pretends to be innocent
There is no Macduff to discover the dead king
Start to see the decline in her character
Asaji is beginning to lose control
She cannot control her husband's actions
Asaji is a somewhat good person
She is well respected
She acts appropriately (her dress, makeup)
Respect for her husband is evident
She acts consistently
Her power-hungry ambition leads to her downfall
Washizu remains a respecful soldier and servant after victory and during his honouring (as a proper soldier of the time must)
Washizu's ambition is shown as a persistent quality in his character (as it must according to rules of tradgedy) as he immediately starts thinking of further advancement in ruling ranks soon after his initial one.
Lady Macbeth voices opinions not fitting for a woman
Shakespeare explains using dialogue of Doctor + Gentlewoman
audience feels little emotional attachment to the change in Lady Macbeth's character
Without interaction, we don't sympathize with Lady Macbeth's change in character
Lady Macbeth and Asaji both shatter
fitting for women to be emotionally fragile
Asaji is more consistent
Fitting and Persistent Character
"More is thy due than more than all can pay." (Duncan - I, iv, 21)
"The service and the loyalty I owe, in doing it, pays itself." (Macbeth - I, iv, 22-23)
Humility and composure in the protagonist
"The rest is labour, which is not us'd for you" (Macbeth - I, iv, 44)
Further aspects of Washizu' initial positive characteristics are shown through the reports of the messangers
An Initially Good Protagonist
Washizu starts as an honourable and humble soldier, allowing for his fall to be the core of the tradgedy
Believable and consistent character personality
More investement in messanger scene leads to a seemingly more important and significant victory for the protagonist.
Fitting for Character?
Further Glorification of Protagonist
The Goodness of Character
Lady Macbeth commits suicide
"She should have died hereafter, there would have been a time for such a word."
(Macbeth - 5.5.17-18)
Asaji's fate unknown
evokes pity in audience
Consistency of character
"It is an accustomed action with her to seem thus washing her hands. I have known her continue in this quarter of an hour"
Believable Personality, Consistency
Asaji already shows signs of guilt after murder
Lady Macbeth shows no signs of remorse until hand-washing scene
Show, Not Tell
Kurosawa shows Asaji's guilt powerfully
more heart-wrenching for audience
Macbeth is not in hand-washing scene at all
EXTREMELY powerful, shows bond of couple
horrified at Asaji's state, tries to stop her
shows guilt when seeing blood of traitor
Asaji's methods are manipulative, but still feminine
uses fear to motivate Washizu, fakes pregnancy
"Thy undaunted medal should compose nothing but males"
(Macbeth - 1.7.73)
Brennan, Joseph. "'Throne of Blood': Exploring how Shakespeare can be Adapted Without the Bard's Diaglogue."
. N.p, 25 June 2013. Web. 16 Dec 2013. <http://the-artiface.com/throne-of-blood-shakespeare-macbeth/>.
Shakespeare, William. "Macbeth."
Macbeth Total Study Edition
. Ed. Coles Editorial Board. Toronto: Coles Publishing Company, 2005. 15-64. Print
Following the Rules of Tragedy
Throne of Blood. Dir. Akira Kurosawa. Perf. Toshirô Mifune, Isuzu Yamada, Takashi Shimura, Akira Kubo. Toho Co., 1957. DVD.
"When you durst do it, then you were a man" -Lady Macbeth (I, vii, 49)
"Will I with wine and wassail so convince" -Lady Macbeth (I, vii, 64)
"Fill me from the crown to the toe top full of direst cruelty" -Lady Macbeth (I, v, 41-42)
"What's the business, that such a hideous trumpet calls to parley the sleepers of the house" -Lady Macbeth (II, iii, 84-86)
"He grows worse and worse...stand not upon the order of your going but go at once" -Lady Macbeth (III, iv, 117, 118-119)
Overall Kurosawa demonstrates Aristotle's Rules of Tragedy more powerfully than Shakespeare's
in his film
Throne of Blood.
This can be seen through the changes in character for both Asaji and Washizu
Washizu distressed to leave her, turns around four times
Oumionna, Rojyo. "Female Masks." Japanese Noh Masks. Inoue Corporation, 24 Nov. 2013. Web. 14 Dec. 2013. <http://nohmask21.com/eu/index.html>.
"A Cultural History of Cosmetics." Japan Cosmetic Industry Association. Japan Cosmetic Industry Association, Web. 1 Jan. <http://www.jcia.org/n/en/info/b/>.
Deterioration of Character
By Act V, Macbeth is the only one who knows of the prophecies; Washizu boasts to his troops that "[no]one of woman born"(133) can defeat him. Washizu doing so shows his foolish vanity and that his army is not confident without these assurances.
When "Brimingham comes towards Dunsinane" (45-46) Macbeth does not yield for he is determined to oppose his fate. Washizu's similar orders to his men are driven by fear and panic.
In the play, Macbeth learns that Macduff is not "one of woman born"(13) and chooses to fight him even though it most likely means his demise.
After the first arrow is loosed, Washizu attempts to flee instead of accepting his fate, which further reinforces the decline of his character.
Washizu's murders are portrayed as neccesary and reluctant acts which contrasts with the murdering of Macduff's family.
In the text, Macbeth hears of his Lady's death and comments that it was inevitable, "she should have died hereafter"(17) and only briefly grieves.
Demonstrates deterioration of character
Emphasizes and visualizes Macbeth's fall from favour
Adheres to Aristotle's rule that a character who is basically good must have a fatal flaw
Whereas the last interaction we see between the couple in
Throne of Blood
shows the affection and care between them.
This proves that Washizu was not in search of violence, only power and love, his fatal flaws being his ambition and his wish to please his wife.
Absense of Macduff Character
The murdering of Macduff's family in the play demonstrates Macbeth's lack of chivalric honour, his disregard for familial bonds and the ease with which he resorts to violence.
Washizu's first murder is justified for his King had killed his predecessor and we see the torment that Miki's death takes on the protagonist.
Macduff's victory over Macbeth takes place offstage and the loser's head is brought onstage; this dehumanizes the protagonist and stunts catharsis. Washizu's death being caused by his people rather than an individual, proves that ultimately it was his actions that led him to his doom.
Plato. "Allegory of the Cave." N.p, n.d. Web. 5 Jan. 2014.