The Astor Place riot, or why we don’t say Macbeth

Some insight to why Macbeth is the “cursed” play… Great for classroom discussions.

The View From Sari's World

astor-place-riot-new-york-state-everett

I’ve always wondered why it’s considered bad luck to say “Macbeth” in a theater, or why production companies often refer to the play as, “that Scottish play”. Actors and directors will tell you the play is cursed; yet oddly this doesn’t stop them from producing it.

Why do we think the play is cursed? I’ve tried in vain to find the origin of this myth. My research led me to several stories that are purported to be examples of this curse, yet no one can say where theses stories originally come from. Even Harvard Professor Marjorie Garber, a well-respected Shakespeare scholar, adds to the myth without bothering to cite any sources. If she is to be taken at her word, the three witches use an actual spell in the opening scene. This supposedly has cursed the play right from the start.

And again if she is to be believed, the…

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