Macbeth and Play

Topics: Macbeth, Opera, Orson Welles Pages: 5 (1531 words) Published: April 29, 2002
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The famous play Macbeth by William Shakespeare, has greatly influenced past societies and continues to be an influence in today’s society. There is not only one great influence either, as there are many smaller ones that have affected society. Of these influences, Macbeth has had its greatest impact on the movie and literature industries. In literature, the play is kept alive in more than one way. There are many full-length books that just discuss and explain the play of Macbeth. Other ways the play is kept alive is through other authors rewriting it, but making slight changes or even using some of his lines or themes in their own plays or other pieces of literature. The movie industry was also greatly affected by Macbeth. Since the invention of movies, there have been many different versions of this play that have been adapted to the movie screen. Macbeth is a play that can last forever as it has everything that still interests and has always interested people such as murder, deceit, and a trip into the human psyche. This play has lived on in many facets of and had many important influences on society, but two of those greatest influences are on the movie and literature industries.

Macbeth actually started its "afterlife" while William Shakespeare was still alive. Simon Forman’s Book of Plays is an example of the influence of the play. 1611, Simon Forman wrote a book in which he described the performance of four plays at the Globe Theater. Book of Plays is one of the only reports of how Shakespeare’s plays were actually performed on stage. However, many parts of the play were omitted in Forman’s summary. For example, he did not include the entire second appearance of the witches.

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Forman also included details that could not have possibly occurred on the stage of the Globe Theater. One example of this is when Forman reports that he sees Macbeth and Banquo riding through the woods. The Globe Theater’s set would not have allowed this to happen, so historians believe that Forman pulled this image from a version that he had read previously and not what actually had happened on stage. On the other hand, Forman gives an elaborate description of some of the staging of the play. For example, he states that in the banquet scene, the ghost of Banquo sits behind Macbeth. This description could have only come from the actual performance and not just a writing of the play.

Another account of the cultural afterlife of Macbeth is found in a book by an unknown author called A collection of Divers and Remarkable Stories, written in 1670. This is a book that includes many different short stories including the story of Macbeth. Many large changes exist in this version of the story. For example, Lady Macbeth is completely left out of this version. Since the influence of Lady Macbeth has been completely erased, much greater emphasis must be added on his ambition. Macbeth is also seen in this story as more of a tyrant that in Shakespeare’s version. "Rather that using this story to explain the life and death of Macbeth, the unknown author of this version of the story uses the death of Macbeth to explain the existence of the Stuart monarchy" (Molly) something not discussed, or even mentioned once the original Shakespeare version of the play. This is done to show the authors perspective on what should have been done

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differently. The author wanted to explore a new route with his ideas, so he changed around the play to make it more of his own.
Sir William Davenant was the godson of Shakespeare. Many dramatists during his time period took an interest in rewriting Shakespeare’s plays in order to update the language and make them more similar to the culture of the timer period. From 1663 to 1664, Davenant rewrote Macbeth. Following in his Shakespeare’s footsteps, his version was performed in theaters from 1664 until 1751. His version of the...
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