Manchurian Candidate Vs. Macbeth

Has anyone here noticed (besides me) the striking similarities between the film/book “The Manchurian Candidate” and Macbeth? We’re learning about Shakespeare in English, and this question came to me (again).

I mean:
Macbeth is Shaw
Lady Macbeth is The Queen of Diamonds***
Macduff is Bennett Marco
The Weird Sisters are the Manchurian Brainwashing Council

Just a thought…

Sure, they have some similarities, but there are only so many plots to go around. And the Scottish play is pretty archetypal.

If you want another interesting take on it, check out the Kurosawa film Throne of Blood: Macbeth as a samurai epic.

I love his “Seven Samurai”, and I’ve been looking for that one for ages, but I haven’t been able to find it. Phooey.

I’m pretty sure Criterion released it along with a bunch of his other films. Ran is another good one, an adaptation of King Lear.

It is? I had not a clue… of course, I’ve not been able to watch it either. We don’t have too many obscure movie rental places where I’m at, or at least not ones that my parents would let me go to. I’ve only seen the Seven Samurai, sadly.

I can’t even find a copy of Kenneth Branagh’s version of Hamlet here, just to give you an idea of the lack of selection. We only have the Mel Gibson version (bleh). We have the VHS version of Henry V at the library, but sadly our television is not compatible with our VHS player anymore. (I wish our old television hadn’t broken) The best Shakespeare on film around here is Titus (with Anthony Hopkins), which was good, albeit surreal.

Yea Criterion has released a 3 disc version of seven samurai with some great extras. I’ve got it.

But I have never thought about the Manchurian Candidate as relating to Macbeth at all.

I see some similarities between them, but also some differences. In the Manchurian candidate, the person was controlled, and it was not his choice to do what he was doing, which is the opposite of Macbeth.

Macbeth was controlled in a sense – a victim of prophecy. It raises the question of whether an accurate prophecy merely sees events or makes them happen. Dune also explores this problem.

Yea, I suppose that’s true. The Manchurian Candidate is nowhere near as much a morality tale as Macbeth is, although it was predecided before he even knew it.

Although Akira Kurosawa made some wonderful Shakespeare remakes (or so you tell me) remakes of his films aren’t nearly so good. The ‘Magnificent Seven’ film lacked the altruistic aspect of the Seven Samurai, and that was sad. But I liked it other than that (maybe that’s because I’m a fan of westerns). Oh well.

A third option, kind of an offshoot of #2, is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Macbeth was told he would be king, and so he sees it as his destiny/right to, and chooses to make it happen ASAP.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit