How does Billy Morrissette’s film Scotland, Pennsylvania interpret Shakespeare’s Macbeth?

Expert Answers
mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Scotland, Pa turns Shakespeare's tragedy into a comedy.  The film is a satire of the original and the dreams of capitalists to climb the corporate ladder, even if it happens to be a fast food chain.

Critic Roger Ebert draws this comparison:

We're expected to engage with the movie on two levels--as itself, and as a parallel to Shakespeare. While modern re-tellings of Shakespeare often work (as in the Michael Almereyda-Ethan Hawke "Hamlet" or Tim Blake Nelson's "O"), a parody is another matter; like an update, it deprives itself of the purpose of the original. It's even more complicated when the maker of the parody doesn't despise the original, but clearly likes it; Morrissette hates fast food, not "Macbeth."

Moriseette's transformation makes the subject matter more realistic.  In comedy, the characters are more like us, not kings, queens, lords, and ladies.  All of us can relate to the Macs desire to kill one's boss: it is a uncouscious dream of most low-level employees.  And killing someone with a frying pan has been part of our lexicon since Looney Toons and other Saturday morning cartoons.