By Kristy Chen, III Form
Macbeth: Movie Poster Project
Act 1, Scene 3, Lines 157-159,
“If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me Without my stir.”
Act 2, Scene 1, Lines 44-61,
“Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand?”
Act 3, Scene 2, Lines 25-29,
“Duncan is in his grave. After life’s fitful fever he sleeps well. Treason has done his worst; nor steel nor poison, Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing Can touch him further.”
The illustration on the movie poster portrays Macbeth holding a dagger dripping with blood. Lady Macbeth’s face appears over Macbeth, who wears a bloody crown. Macbeth is the
main character in the play, so I placed him as the focus of the movie poster. The dagger, the dripping blood, and the bloody crown all show Macbeth’s sinister desire for murder and how he would do anything to obtain the crown. The blood also indicates that he has already committed murder. The overlay of Lady Macbeth’s face over Macbeth’s entire body symbolizes her strong influence over his desires. It is her persuasion over Macbeth to commit murder and her belittling of him at the beginning of the tragedy that led Macbeth to all his evil desires. The majority of the poster is colored in red, the same color as blood. The red references the important symbol of blood in the play which represents evilness, murder, and guilt – all of which leads to Macbeth’s inevitable death in the end. The three quotations on the posters represent three different stages of Macbeth. The first quotation, “If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me Without my stir” (Act 1, Scene 3, Lines 157-159), is at the beginning of the play, in which Macbeth and Banquo have met with the witches and heard their prophecies. While Banquo is reluctant to accept the prophecy of his son becoming king, Macbeth’s reacts differently. He says in the quote that what is meant to happen will happen; if fate, or “chance,” wants him to be king, then it will happen no matter what he does. Two of the witches’ prophecies have already come true – Macbeth becoming Thane of Glamis and Thane of Cawdor. Naturally, the main character wonders whether he will eventually become the king as the witches’ third prophecy predicted. The quote reveals Macbeth’s ambition for the crown. The second quotation, “Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand?” (Act 2, Scene 1, Lines 44-61), is a monologue by Macbeth on his way to murder Duncan. He previously expressed doubt about killing Duncan, but was persuaded by his wife, Lady Macbeth, to complete their plan for murder. Macbeth is so overwhelmed by his evil desires for the crown that he sees an imaginary dagger floating before him, leading him to Duncan. The image of the dagger urges Macbeth to complete the murder as his wife had told him. Symbolically, the dagger represents Macbeth’s selfish desire for murder. The third quotation, “Duncan is in his grave. After life’s fitful fever he sleeps well. Treason has done his worst; nor steel nor poison, Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing Can touch him further” (Act 3, Scene 2, Lines 25-29), appears in the play when Macbeth has changed dramatically. At this point, Macbeth thinks that by killing Duncan, he is doing him a favor in saving him from the cruelty of life. He says that now that Duncan lies in his grave, he is through with life’s troubles, and is sleeping well. The murder is the worst that can happen to him. Thanks to him, nothing can hurt him anymore — not weapons, poison, rebellion, invasion, nor anything else. Compared to previous scenes, when Macbeth is having second thoughts and acting terrified for the murder, he has become a ruthless and evil king. Murder has become almost a norm to him. This quotation is placed at the bottom of the poster and under Lady Macbeth because this is what Macbeth has become after a series of events he went through as the result of Lady Macbeth’s influence. The three quotations, from top to bottom, are arranged chronologically to show the changes of Macbeth throughout Shakespeare’s tragedy.
Kristy Chen is a III Form boarding student from Shanghai, China. She plays field hockey, hockey, and tennis, and she enjoys dancing.