Transposition and Reconfiguration in Cinematic Adaptations of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth College

The universal themes of ambition, power, and greed make William Shakespeare’s Macbeth remarkably applicable to countless other times, places, and people. It is with this mindset that directors Akira Kurosawa and Billy Morrisette approached their respective adaptations of the play, Throne of Blood and Scotland, PA. Throne of Blood transposes the play’s setting from Scotland to feudal Japan and alters the story as little as possible in order to remain faithful to both the original plot and to traditional Samurai culture. Scotland, PA goes even farther by reconfiguring the play as a dark comedy based around a fast food restaurant in 1970’s Pennsylvania. What makes the relationship between the two films and their source material so unique among adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays is that each film is able to stay faithful to the plot, characters, and themes of Macbeth while also presenting them in unprecedented, yet ultimately functional, settings. Through transposition and reconfiguration, the films Throne of Blood and Scotland, PA are able to limn Shakespeare’s text while also broadening the boundaries within the general concept of adaptation.

Throne of Blood is not only an example of how adaptable Macbeth is in terms of plot,...

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