Macbeth and ‘throne of blood’
‘Throne of Blood’ is a close adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth to the life style and culture of feudal Japan; a 1957 film in black-and-white contrast that has been acclaimed as one of the best plot transposition of the Macbeth. It depicts the deceit, and greed associated with ambitious fervency to acquire power and engage in tyrannical acts.
No doubt, there are similarities between the two plays; however, one of the original script was used in ‘Throne of Blood’. Instead, Washizu Taketori replaced but not as violent and deadly as Macbeth; Lady Macbeth was replaced with Washizu’s wife, Asaji a master-schemer far less humane as Lady.
Macduff was not represented in the plot. But the threat for the throne was halted when General Miki was killed; but the latter returned as a ghost
Unlike the Macbeth where the king was killed in a fight as prophesied by the three witches, Washizu was shot by his own archers, a nemesis reward of betrayal for a greedy and treacherous leader. Washizu’s fate was prophesized by a malevolent ghost, and not witches.
Indeed, the film depicts clear eerie scenes of interactions marked by evil at high places, extensive use of symbols and mystic prowess to carry the viewers from ‘the Island’ to the intricacies of Japanese culture and practice.
The theme of the story was not altered in any significant way; it clearly shows the fate of greed and craze for power. The characters employed used the uniqueness of the contemporary culture to relay the message of Macbeth: greed for power never pays; beware of friends, they can become traitors. The force of language lost in this translation was however replaced almost adequately with vivid imagery and sound. The film is great; and a must watch for lovers of Japanese culture, marshal arts especially Samurai styles.