The Scottish Curse

Contextual Information

Time of Interview: April 21st, 4:56 p.m.

Location of Interview: Interior of Informant’s Room, Arts and Humanities

Informant’s First Encounter w/ Folklore: Freshman Year of Private High School

When Folklore is Performed: During theatrical production of the play Macbeth



“Basically, if you said Macbeth, the show was cursed. To reverse the curse, you had to spit on the stage, run seven laps around the theatre, say the name of the Bard while hopping up and down and spinning outside the theatre, and apologize to everyone for naming the Scottish play. I never did it, but one of my friends did once and the upperclassmen made her do all of it.”


In theater, when the play is subject to so many variables such as timing, coordination, and memorization, any constant or luck charm will help. The ability to refrain from saying the title of the play serves as a sort of placebo, aiding in everyone’s efforts to complete what is often believed to be a cursed play. Those who break this one constant are forced to perform ridiculous tasks not too appease the fates, but instead to pull themselves back into focus. This particular superstition has been mentioned and parodied numerous times in pop culture [1].


[1] In Season 15, episode 4 of the Simpsons, titled “The Regina Monologues,” in which the Simpsons go to London. Ian McKellan was the actor playing Macbeth in the episode. Every time someone said “Macbeth”, McKellan always got hit by a lightning bolt.