Men of Respect V.S Macbeth

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Compare and Contrast Essay

In 1991, William Shakespeare's great play "Macbeth" was re-created into a modern day version titled "Men of Respect." Was the plays textual fidelity lost in transition during the making of the film, or did the film show total loyalty and devotion to the text and the feelings of the play? A closer examination of the characters/lines, classification between good and evil, and the use of light and dark will compare the many differences and similarities between William Shakespeare's "Macbeth" and William Reilly's "Men of Respect."

Set in present day New York (present as in 1991), the various warring kingdoms of the play become organized crime factions in the film, King Duncan becoming the "padrino" or godfather of the main "family," Charlie Di'Mico. His chief lieutenant, Mikey Bataglia is, of course, the corollary to the treacherous Macbeth. The character of Lady Macbeth (Ruthie Bataglia) remains instinctive yet ruthless in her goal to get Mikey to become the "padrino." William Reilly at times stuck to Shakespeare's original version word for word. Other lines were re-worked for the modern audience, such as Lady Macbeth's speech that states "They have made themselves, and their fitness now does unmake you. I had given suck, and know how tender ‘tis to love the bebe that milks me: I would, while it was smiling in my face, Have pluck'd my nipple from his boneless gums, and dash'd the brains out, had I so sworn as you have done this." (Act.1 scene 7 53-58) Which becomes something like "I know what it is like to have a life inside me and squashing it out because it is too difficult right now..." Replacing the original with a reference to abortion allows the modern audience to relate on a such a sketchy topic, but by doing this Reilly went away from the original plays meaning.

The classification between good and evil is a big topic in both the play and the film. In Shakespeare's original version, Macbeth said "...
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