Macbeth Superstition

Main Piece:

“There’s an unwritten rule in the theatre that you cannot say the word ‘Macbeth’ in the theatre because it gives bad luck to the production.”


I collected this piece of folklore during an over-the-phone interview. My informant is a university student who currently resides in California, but she goes to school in New York where she learned this piece of folklore.

My Thoughts:

My informant told me that she did not know the history surrounding the superstition. However, if she had to guess as to why the superstition exists is because of the witches in the play. Witches commonly associated with evil could bring bad luck to the play so if “Macbeth” is uttered in a theatre (other than what is called for in the script) disaster could ensue. The origin online is said to be speculated as due to the play being produced by financial unstable companies so the play would end in financial ruin for many companies since Macbeth is associated with high costs. Thus, bad luck was then associated with Macbeth. There are also cleansing rituals if someone does say “Macbeth” that someone must do before they can be readmitted into the theatre.