Cultural Interpretations of Agency in Film Adaptations of Macbeth
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Much of the criticism on William Shakespeare’s Macbeth has focused on the question of agency in the play: What drives Macbeth to commit regicide to gain the throne? Is Macbeth in control of his own actions? The play does not seem to give a clear answer to this question, and there is no critical consensus. I will examine filmic interpretations made by directors regarding the question of agency in their adaptations of the play. The film I will be focusing on is Akira Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood (1957), and I will be using Rupert Goold’s Macbeth (2010) for comparison. Drawing on auteur theory and branching out into cultural semiotics, I will analyze the different ways in which directors manipulate and go beyond Shakespeare’s text to support their interpretation. Literary theory and the application of a New Historicist lens will allow me to determine how the directors’ choices reflect the culture in which the films were produced.