The Shakespeare’s Macbeth Play

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Updated: Jun 26, 2022
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In the movie by Akira Kurosawa, Throne of Blood (1957), critics commonly described it as an adaptation to Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth. Shakespeare, being favored by millions of people, it is not surprising that one would make a creation that is very different from what the original was. People have their own viewpoints and want to make originals products their own, so when someone comes and creates what their interpretation of a Shakespeare play is, many critics tend to not agree or not understand the connection between the two.

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Throne of Blood was intended to be a modern film with concerned about a modern japan in the time of the 1950s. I believe this movie is more than just a direct translation of a literal text, but more of a historical and cultural source derived from Shakespeare.

Kurosawa is a brilliant producer that was not afraid to altar Shakespeare’s play to create a more dramatic piece of cinema. He succeeded and failed in many ways and changes different aspects of the play.I think in many ways Kurosawa has succeeded and failed in creating a satisfying, effective film version of the play. I believed he succeeds in creating a work of art that was an alternate of the Shakespeare play Macbeth. While most people who move Shakespeare’s play to film tend to stay with the original dialect, Kurosawa’s script allows him show other features that are more important that the words. He used very few words and used his techniques to show the mood and allow viewers to interpret their own opinions rather than telling it.

The Throne of Blood can better impact the viewers with tragic scenes and emotion, something that text may not be able to fully express.  Although he succeeded in these, there are some that believe if a Shakespeare play is going to become a film that it should stay similar. For example, in the past films and plays the class has read/watched there had been a lot of similarities between the them. The films had similar dialect to the plays and vice versa, but with Throne of Blood, the film is completely different from the play and in fact in a different time period as well as a different country.The theme of Kurosawa’s version compared to the original work of Shakespeare had its similarities and differences. 

For example, the play shows historical events that are happening in the eleventh-century Scotland compared to the film that showed historical Japanese events exploring the century of civil war in medieval Japan.  When it comes to character analysis, Kurosawa’s characters were a lot more similar to the ones that Shakespeare created in Macbeth. For example, in Throne of Blood, there was a character that foretold the future; while in Macbeth, there were three witches that had the ability to see the future.  We see this in the film when Washizu and Miki are riding through the forest on their way to tell the Lord of Inui’s defeat. In Throne of Blood, many elements of performance are drawn from the ancient form of Noh theater.

Their performance style emphasized acting, movement and facial expressions, and spoken words. With the film, Noh shows up everywhere, fusing cinema and theater and how, when combined can create cinematic theater. The used of Noh often replaced the action in the film for example, the movements of Asaji, as well as the offscreen action that the audience is left to assume for their own opinion. In conclusion, I think Akira Kurosawa did an excellent job in bringing Shakespeare play to his own historically modern japan. Both the play and the film used their own style of symbolism and language to relay a message to their audience.  There were many similarities when it came to the play and the film. The film showed a modern twist on Shakespeare’s original play. Even though the film was not word for word or even same time era and country, the film still showed similarities in the characters and the Noh theater.

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The Shakespeare’s Macbeth Play. (2022, Apr 10). Retrieved from