In Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”, Macbeth is a brave and loyal Thane to King Duncan. After hearing a prophecy that he will become king himself, Macbeth is overcome by ambition and greed. Bolstered by the prophecy and his wife’s encouragement, he kills King Duncan and takes the throne. Afterwards, Macbeth’s guilt, fear, and paranoia lead him to commit even more murders to secure his power. His confidence in the prophecies eventually leads to his downfall and he is overthrown and killed by those he has wronged. Macbeth the play is often referred to in the thespian community as the “Scottish Play” because of a said curse and the nature of the play. They use this name in an attempt to not become cursed themselves, or the production.
The curse generally states that whoever speaks the name of the play on a stage or an area of producing a play shall be cursed which includes bodily injury the forgetting of lines and in some instances even death.Major reasons that caused the Scottish Play curse are the words of the witches, the creation on their spells and the coincidences centered around the play and its venues, which have all lead to the negative atmosphere of the play.The repeated notion of witches and spells throughout the play cause more than enough reason for the backstory of the play to seem superstitious and earry. It is said that “Shakespeare used an authentic ritual when his witches create their magical brew…”(King) It’s also stated “A group of real witches were so displeased with it that they put a curse on the play” (King), showing that the deaths and injuring of people performing they play would be on the fault of Shakespeare. Shakespeare’s reason for doing this could be that he was attempting to become closer with the king.
As King James the First was very known for his believing of superstitions and witchcraft. Another possibility for his use of the spells is that he is showing that witchcraft is something that should be left alone, as he is now cursed himself and his play with him. The shear power of the curse has lead to many people to try to break and free the play of its curse, however “All fell victim to different misshapes preventing them all to make to their meeting” (O’Neill), concluding that the cure is not only for the actors but the ones who wish to deny the curse.Finally, the curse of Macbeth can simply be justification of the circumstances and coincidences of a venue an actor.
For example, an oft-cited example is that Macbeth often causes a theater to close or go bankrupt, since “As a known crowd-pleaser ‘Macbeth’ is often performed by theater companies with money problems trying to fill seats…And then if the company does fail – what’s to blame…why ‘the Scottish play'” (Kerr), which may both disconnect a theater’s problems with the curse, but also keep theaters wary of the play in general. The play also has a number of violent scenes, involving prop swords and daggers, and though they may go awry, “a lot of scenes are in the dark, which increases the possibility for something to go wrong” (Kerr), thus making the violence and setting another possible cause and consequence of the curse. However, much of the curse can sum up to a history in bad luck, and belief in such a curse is often the reason behind more incidents. Overall, the curse of Macbeth could very well have originated from an unfortunate series of events that turned into a believable superstition.