There have been so many cinema versions of his works that sometimes it’s difficult to remember that Shakespeare didn’t actually write films, he wrote plays. Nowadays his works can often be seen on the big screen, with the most recent adaptation a 2015 version of Macbeth. It was directed by Justin Kurzel and starred Michael Fassbender as the Scottish king and Marion Cotillard, as his wife, Lady Macbeth. The story starts when three witches tell Macbeth he will one day become king of Scotland. Encouraged by his ambitious wife, he decides to kill the present king and take the throne for himself.

Many young people associate Shakespeare with school exams but this version was made especially for a younger audience. The violent tale of witchcraft, power and ambition had the perfect combination of blood, passion and poetry to keep everyone happy. Kurzel put Shakespeare’s rich, dramatic language into the atmospheric Scottish landscape and filled it with adrenalin. The result helped bring Shakespeare’s tragic hero to life for students everywhere. Although the film was nominated for many prizes it failed to win any. However, many critics still considered it one of the best adaptations of the Scottish tragedy so far.

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Illustration by ​Gianni De Conno, taken from ​Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, adopted by William Shakespeare, Reading Shakespeare, Step 4 (B2.1)