In Macbeth, is the theme of the play psychoanalysis or feminism or something else, and why? Would you use a reproduction, realism, or a contemporized/modernized concept in producing the play and why? If you were the director, how would the members of a creative team generate a concept production?

Expert Answers

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First, both psychoanalysis and feminism arose in the nineteenth century, some two centuries after the death of Shakespeare. Thus there is no way that either could inhere in the text of the play itself, and applying either of these two the play would be highly anachronistic. The closest concept to psychoanalysis that might have been current in Shakespeare's period was the theory of humors. It might have some interesting potential as the underpinning of a concept production.

The four humors are: black bile, yellow bile, phlegm (green), and blood (red). An excess or dominance of each of these humors produces the corresponding traditional temperament, melancholic, choleric, phlegmatic, and sanguine. One could associate characters in the play with temperaments, and give them each a dominant color, perhaps red for Lady Macbeth (gradually turning to black), yellow for Macbeth, green for Macduff and Duncan, and perhaps a combination of black and red for the weird sisters. This sort of high concept staging could be done with a minimal set but quite creative abstract lighting and costuming.

The reason why I would choose this is that while it avoids anachronism, this sort of minimalistic production focuses the attention of the audience on the words of the drama, which are well worth emphasizing as they are so beautifully crafted.  

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