"Conflict is central to the dramatic development of any play."
Prior to deciding whether or not conflict is central to the dramatic development of MACBETH, one must consider all the dramatic factors that contribute to the Shakespearean play. The gradual decline of the protagonist , the role portrayed by characters and the order in which the events occur, greatly influence the direction in which the development of the play takes place. After reading the text MACBETH, by Shakespeare and viewing the film version, directed by Roman Polanski, it is logical to see that ambition and the deceptive appearances of what really is, is central to the dramatic development of MACBETH.
Initially MACBETH is seen as a great soldier, a fearless fighter who has loyally defended his King against a treacherous rebellion. However, he is corrupted by evil in the form of three witches and their supernatural prophecies, and by ambition, not so much his own at first but by Lady Macbeth's ambition for him to murder Duncan, thus attaining the crown of Scotland.
In Act I, Scene I three witches plan to meet MACBETH upon a heath. They announce the major theme of the play: appearances can be deceptive.
"Fair is foul, and foul is fair."
MACBETH's affirmation of this is reciprocated in Act I, Scene III, when he echoes the witches words, "So fair and foul a day I have not seen."
Factors that are apparent in both the text and visual of MACBETH are the symbols and imagery used by Shakespeare and Polanski. Due to the different language modes used in both versions of MACBETH, the audience must themselves visualise the images in the text, since the main language mode is reading and can therefore interpret the images quite differently in comparison with Polanski's MACBETH. The main language mode in the film is viewing and listening, so the audience does not have to interpret the images for themselves because it has already been done for them, which enhances the audience's response and emotions to the dramatic development of ambition and deceptive appearances.
In the written text, Shakespeare emphasis's the hidden reality through the use of dramatic techniques of imagery and symbolism. There is a constant use of light and dark imagery which is used by the protagonist , MACBETH and his wife to express their motives and deeds. This produces psychological and dramatic effects, contributing to the gradual development of the play. Take Lady Macbeth's first invocation to darkness in Act I, Scene V:
"Come, thick Night,
And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of Hell,
That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
Nor Heaven peep through the blanket of the dark,
To cry, 'Hold, hold!'"
This vividly illustrates the imagery used in MACBETH and is interpreted to mean that night equals evil, as does Hell, which is not necessarily correct. This also implies that darkness is necessary for the carrying out of Duncan's murder. Meaning the blanket that covers him affords no protection in the darkness against the evil deed and the cry envisions the imaginary voice which MACBETH hears as he 'murders Sleep'. This encompasses the central action of the play, murder.
On the night MACBETH brutally kills the King of Scotland, Banquo fearful of his own 'cursed thoughts' observes that:
"There's husbandry in heaven;
Their candles are all out." (Act II, Scene I)
The darkness itself, which is ironically equated with Heaven, but seemingly appropriate for the acts of Hell, provides the natural cover for the unnatural murder. MACBETH in the same scene, refers to the fact that 'Nature seems dead', symbolically representing what Duncan is soon to be.
Another continuance of imagery is the 'clothes' sequence, relating to deceptive appearances to gain MACBETH's ambition by hiding the truth. This begins with MACBETH's...
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