home contact

Heebie-Jeebies: The Curse of Macbeth

Given its shocking history of disorder and death, actors have come to the logical conclusion that Macbeth is unlucky. The best known of all theatrical superstitions forbids actors from mentioning the name of "that Scottish play" anywhere inside the theatre other than onstage. If an actor mistakenly lets the "M" word slip in the dressing room he or she must perform a ritual to reverse the curse.

Although these antics vary depending on who you ask, most times the actor will run from the building, turn around three times, spit, and then ask permission to reenter the theatre. It is just as distressing for actors to hear a quote from the play uttered outside the theatre. If this happens, the offender must recite an equal number of lines from another play. The distinguished Shakespearean actor, Patrick Stewart (best known to Trekkies as Captain Picard), finds salvation in lines from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

How to cite this article:

Mabillard, Amanda. Heebie-Jeebies: The Curse of Macbeth. Shakespeare Online. 20 Aug. 2000. (date when you accessed the information) < >.

Related Articles

 Macbeth: The Annotated Play
 Macbeth Character Introduction

 Soliloquy Analysis: If it were done when 'tis done (1.7.1-29)
 Soliloquy Analysis: Is this a dagger (2.1.33-61)
 Soliloquy Analysis: To be thus is nothing (3.1.47-71)
 Soliloquy Analysis: She should have died hereafter (5.5.17-28)
 Annotations for Lady Macbeth's Soliloquy (1.5)
 Annotations for The Witches' Chants (4.1)

 Metaphors in Macbeth (Biblical)
 Shakespeare's Sources for Macbeth
 Macbeth Plot Summary (Acts 1 and 2)
 Macbeth Plot Summary (Acts 3, 4 and 5)
 Macbeth Q & A
 Macbeth Study Quiz (with detailed answers)
 Quotations from Macbeth (Full)
 Top 10 Quotations from Macbeth