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By William Shakespeare


It is believed that Macbeth was first performed between 1605 and 1606. In this era there was a huge demand for new entertainment and the drama would have been ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: By William Shakespeare

  • By William Shakespeare

  • It is believed that Macbeth was first performed
    between 1605 and 1606.
  • In this era there was a huge demand for new
    entertainment and the drama would have been
    produced immediately following the completion of
    the play.
  • Shakespeare knew that a play featuring witches
    would attract theatre goers and increase his
    audience and revenue.
  • He would also have been aware that King James I
    was extremely interested in witches and sorcery,
    having written a book called Daemonologie
    (Demonology) describing the demonic rites of
  • Shakespeare really could not lose with Macbeth
    when it was performed in 1605, two years after
    James acceded to the throne of England.

Macbeth was a real person
  • The real Macbeth took the throne of Scotland in
    1040, after killing his cousin King Duncan I in a
    battle near Elgin in the Moray district of
  • Duncan's eldest son, Malcolm, ended Macbeth's
    reign in 1057 by killing him in battle and later
    assuming the throne as Malcolm III.
  • The real Lady Macbeth's first name was Gruoch,
    although this is not mentioned in the play, and
    he was her second husband. 

The Real Macbeth
Cawdor Castle Built 1370 AD
Brief Synapsis of Macbeth
  • This drama is one of the great tragedy themed
    plays by William Shakespeare.
  • The themes illustrated in the play include
    ambition, fate, deception and treachery.
  • Three witches  decide to confront the great
    Scottish general Macbeth on his victorious return
    from a war between Scotland and Norway.
  • The Scottish king, Duncan, decides that he will
    confer the title of the traitorous Cawdor on the
    heroic Macbeth. Macbeth, and another General
    called Banquo, happen upon the three witches.

Brief Synopsis of Macbeth
  • The witches predict that he will one day become
    king. He decides that he will murder Duncan and
    Macbeth's wife agrees to his plan.
  • He then murders Duncan assisted by his wife who
    smears the blood of Duncan on the daggers of the
    sleeping guards.
  • A nobleman called Macduff discovers the body.
    Macbeth kills the guards insisting that their
    daggers smeared with Duncan's blood are proof
    that they committed the murder.
  • The crown passes to Macbeth. More murders ensue
    and a bloodied ghost appears to Macbeth.
  • Lady Macbeth's conscience now begins to torture
    her and she imagines that she can see her hands
    covered with blood.
  • What will happen to Macbeth and Lady Macbeth?

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The Curse of Macbeth
  • There is no other superstition as well known in
    the theatre world as that of the "curse of
  • It is thought to be extremely bad luck to say the
    name "Macbeth" anywhere near a theatre.
  • Actors and theatre personnel instead, refer to
    Shakespeare's Macbeth as "the Scottish play."
  • Actors refer to the lead characters as the
    Mac-ers, Lady M, and other nicknames.
  • This superstition goes back to the 1600's.
  • Many felt that the witches incantations
    Shakespeare wrote, were in fact real and that was
    what led to many coincidental catastrophes.
  • The play has some major sword fights and battles
    that could give it more opportunities for
    accidents than other plays as well.

To break the curse..
  • If an actor accidentally mentions the name
    Macbeth they are expected leave the theater, spit
    three times, spin three times while cursing, and
    then ask permission to return to the theater.

The Curse of Macbeth
  • 1606 First production. The boy playing Lady
    Macbeth became feverish and died backstage.
    Rumor has it that Shakespeare himself played the
  • 1672 Amsterdam. The actor playing Macbeth
    substituted a real dagger for the stage dagger
    and killed the actor playing Duncan, in full view
    of the audience.
  • 1703 Opening day. England was hit with one of
    the most violent storms in its history. 500
    seamen died.
  • 1849 a riot in which more than 30 people died
    at the Astor Place Opera House
  • April 9, 1865 Abraham Lincoln was reading
    passages from Macbeth (scenes following Duncans
    assassination) aloud to some friends. Within a
    week, Lincoln was himself assassinated.

The worst? A wartime production saw..
  • The third witch fell ill and died of a heart
    attack during the final rehearsal.
  • The actor playing King Duncan died of angina.
  • A witch was dancing around the cauldron, but
    would not maintain the tempo of the music. She
    collapsed and died on stage.
  • The set designer committed suicide.

More tragedy.1937 production in London
  • The director was nearly killed in a car crash.
    Lady M was badly bruised as well.
  • Laurence Olivier lost his voice and almost died
    when a weight from the stage lights came tumbling
  • The founder of the theater had a heart attack and
    died on opening night.
  • A member of the audience was hit by a fragment of
    Oliviers sword and then died of a heart attack.

Bermuda, 1953, and Charlton Heston
  • His tights had been accidentally soaked in
    kerosene. He suffered severe burns on his groin
    and leg.

A little more tragedy
  • 1954 Company manager broke both legs in a car
    accident and an electrician sustained severe
  • 1961 Connecticut One actor, while riding his
    bike, was hit by a car. One of the witches fell
    from a stage lift. One actor was found dying of
    stab wounds (the murdered was never found). The
    company manager was murdered in his Boston apt.

The Curse of Macbeth Is it True!?!?!?!
  • http//
  • History of the Curse (2 minutes)
  • http//
  • One mans story (1 minute)

Compare and Contrast
  • http//
  • As you watch the video clip, make notes about
    what is going on in the scene and decide which
    version is your favorite (the best).
  • In a one page response, compare and contrast the
    three clips and explain which one you think is
    the best and why.