"Round about the cauldron go; In the poison'd entrails throw."
Macbeth, Act IV, Sc i. William Shakespeare.
The Curse of the Bards Play
Is William Shakespeare's play “Macbeth” cursed? Plenty of Thespians and their directors will tell you “yes!”.
The story goes that if one utters the word “Macbeth” in a theatre will cause disaster. A slight variation of the curse exists where any direct quotation of the play, other than in rehearsals will begin the curse.
Believers in this age-old curse have often said that the cause of the curse is the scene in which three witches are toiling over a cauldron, they believe the lines the witches say are actual spells that are cast every time they are said.
Others believe that including the character of Hecate, who is frequently cut, intensifies the spells.
Accidents seem to follow productions of Macbeth, worldwide, even the first initial premiere of the show has a legend where an actor died, the story goes that an actor died because he was stabbed with a real dagger that was mistaken for the stage prop.
Other legends have grown around this play including one that Shakespeare got some of his material from real witches, and upon them seeing their work used in the play, the witches cursed its name and future productions of Macbeth.
One of the most often cited pieces of evidence to the Curse of Macbeth is a riot that broke out in the Astor Place Theatre in New York in 1849 in which the National Guard were called out. The crowd were fired upon and at least 25 people were killed, with 120 seriously injured in the melee.
It is often said that the riot broke out over support for two different actors playing Macbeth on the same night in separate theatres, however, one only needs to do a google search for the Astor Place Theatre riot to find out there was a lot more to the situation at the time.
There are many stories about how the curse has had an effect on productions of Macbeth worldwide, far too many to list here, if you would like to read more about the curse a quick search on google will provide an abundance of information
©2012 Allen Tiller
first published 17 Dec 2012