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The Curse of Macbeth - Superstitions surrounding the play

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Brooke Pollard

on 7 October 2014

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Transcript of The Curse of Macbeth - Superstitions surrounding the play

The Curse of Macbeth - Superstitions Surrounding the Play
Bad fortune seemed to happen early on in the production of the play
Theories on how the curse started cannot be verified
In the play Shakespeare used a authentic ritual when his witches created the magical brew
One of theories is that; a group of real witches were not impressed with the ritual and put a curse on the play
This is one of the most famous theories on how the curse started.
Incidents Behind the Curse
In 1937, a heavy weight from above the stage crashed down within inches of the title actor Laurence Olivier.
During the 1937 performance, the actors utilized real swords, and one of the sword fell into the audience and gave an audience member a heart attack.
In 1942, three actors died throughout the performance, and the costume designer killed himself.
In January of 1947, Harold Norman, the actor playing Macbeth, whom did not believe in the superstition. During a sword fight at rehearsal, he was stabbed and died
In 1953, Charlton Heston was playing the lead and suffered severe burns on his legs. It was later discovered that his tights had been mysteriously soaked in kerosene.
The Facts and Theories You May Not Know!
By: Aleeya, Brooke, Noah, Emily, Sarah
Introduction to
How the curse started?
Among the best-known of William Shakespeare’s plays
Was written between 1603 and 1606
Often regarded as a symbolic play that tells of the dangers of the lust for power and the betrayal of friends
The play is based loosely on the historical account of King Macbeth of Scotland
Many superstitions follow the play and some actors even refuse to say the name
It is often referred to as the Scottish play
It is believed that the play is cursed, and specific "rituals" are needed to reverse it
Reverses the Curse
Some Origin Theories
Steps to getting rid of the Curse:
-Shakespeare curse the play himself, in order to be
the only successful director.
-Real spell's were used in some of the verses in the
How the curse started ?
-Witches believed they were slated in the play and
therefore cursed the play
1. Step outside the theater
2. Turn around 3 times
3. Spit
4. Repeat a swear out loud
5. Ask for permission to re-enter the theater
Curse or Coincidence?
King James banned the play for 5 years after he watched it in 1606
He found the witches' curses too realistic and did not like it
He authored a work on demonology (an expert)
-April 6th, 1865 Abraham Lincoln was reading verses of the play aloud to his friend. Moreover the verses were about the assassination of one of the characters. A week later Lincoln himself was assassinated.
Steps 3 and 4 are said to have different details about them. Some say you must spit over your left shoulder. Also instead of a swear word you must recite an appropriate line from another play. Another myth states you must say "Thrice around the circle bound, Evil sink into the ground."
Is it Easily Explained?
-Majority of the scenes take place in the dark, and with the addition of fog is a recipe for disaster.
-A multitude of fight scene, with fight comes danger. And with danger comes accidents.
Rehearsal Rituals
-"The Curse" make the play special, in turn increasing the production value of the play.
-The play has been re-staged for over 400 years, things are bound to go wrong... right?
Before Rehearsals and Plays:
Some actors say "Angels and ministers of Grace defend us"
After Rehearsals and Play:
The actors say "If we shadows have offended, think but this and all is mended, that you have but slumbered here, whilst these visions did appear."
Quick Flick on the Curse of Macbeth
Full transcript