The Legend of Macbeth

Folklore/ Text: “Macbeth!”

KM: Uttering the word “Macbeth” within a theatrical setting immediately brings bad luck to your day. This legend dates back to the early 1600s during the first-ever performance of Macbeth. The actor that was intended to portray Lady Macbeth suddenly passed away before the show, forcing Shakespeare himself to play the part. Later, the person playing King Duncan was stabbed with an actual dagger, and killed in front of a live audience. Many more unfortunate events like riots and murders have occurred during the runs of Macbeth, upholding the strange folklore surrounding the play. The only remedy is to exit the theater after saying the word, spin around three times, spit over your left shoulder, and either swear or recite a line of Shakespeare dialogue.  

Explanation/ Context: After over 400 years of Macbeth being performed on stages all over the world, the continuous accidents and occurrences further exemplify the grim lore of the play. It’s almost common knowledge that the word is cursed, whether you’re involved in theatre or not. No accidents are the same, but somehow exclusively happen during performances of Macbeth. When something goes wrong– someone said “Macbeth!” Even the remedy is widely known and allegedly stops oncoming.