A Comparison of Shakespeare's Macbeth and Rupert Goold's Film Adaptation

969 Words2 Pages

William Shakespeare’s masterpiece, Macbeth, is a tragedy brilliantly brought to the 21st Century by Rupert Goold. Although Shakespeare’s Macbeth is a play set in 16th Century Scotland, Rupert Goold modernizes the play by changing the setting to a Soviet-styled country and implementing modern elements into the characters and theme. Although Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Rupert Goold’s film adaptation share many ideologies and a general storyline, a difference exists in the setting, the characters, and the overall ambience of the story. In an effort to successfully relate the plot to his audience, Rupert Goold places the setting for Macbeth in a bleak, militaristic, Society-styled state, described by critic Ben Brantley as a “joyless, stark environment that resembles nothing so much as a morgue.” The setting contributes to a foreboding atmosphere, felt by the audience throughout the entire play. The mannerisms and costumes of the characters of Rupert Goold’s film are in context with the setting. As what critic Joseph White accurately describes as “more vicious and less pitiable,” Rupert Goold’s Macbeth is perceived by the viewers of film as a Stalin-like dictator. The halls of his palace are decorated with murals of his face. The film also illustrates the large masses of crowds. Through this perspective of Macbeth, Rupert Goold emphasizes the theme of the corrosive power of unbridled ambition. Not unlike Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the character of Macbeth in Rupert Goold’s film is a savage, power-hungry politician. In Goold’s film, however, Macbeth finds humor in the tumultuous events leading to his downfall. His chilling laughter upon the announcement of his wife’s suicide and his demeaning attitude towards his fellow rege... ... middle of paper ... ...eir half-truths and prophecies. In the end, they appear to be angels of Hell. The Lady Macbeth of Rupert Goold’s contemporary interpretation of Macbeth and the Lady Macbeth of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth are different in regards to their character traits and appearance. In Ruper Goold’s Macbeth, Lady Macbeth is depicted as an instrument of evil – a constant figure of fiery wrath. Through dark costumes and makeup, the viewers of the film see her as a morbid housewife, consumed with ambition. The film remains faithful to the themes of Macbeth. It does not dilute the eternal qualities of evil and treachery that are so viscerally expressed in the play. I am sure that the “Bard of Avon” would be pleased by the modern adaptation, for Macbeth, as is true for all of his plays are timeless for they address the core of human nature - both good and bad.

Open Document