Published: 07th August 2021
#ThrowbackToday: When Macbeth the play was performed for the first time 415 years ago today
In today's #TBT, we talk about the tale of ruthless ambition and how it brought downfall and destruction. Of course, it was the greatest writer ever who could have conceived it just so
King James I of Scotland and his brother-in-law King Christian IV of Denmark — they were the esteemed audience privy to the first-ever performance of Shakespeare's Macbeth at Great Hall at Hampton Court Palace, London on August 7, 1606. Legend has it that when actor Hal Berridge, who was to essay the role of Lady Macbeth, fell ill the Bard of Avon himself was to fill his shoes. Soon, when Berridge actually passed away, the play was immediately touted as cursed. Apparently, this led to actors refraining from even naming the play, except in dialogues. They called it The Scottish Play or something along the same lines. Such was the terror that the actors even avoided saying the dialogues attributed to the three witches until the final performance. That's quite spooky, right?
As Macbeth was written by the greatest playwright ever know, it seemed like it was shaped as per what would be palatable to the king. It included elements of witchcraft (the three witches, remember them?), which the king was fascinated with plus, it is one of the shorter tragedies by Shakespeare, penned keeping in mind the short attention span of the king. Plus, it has Scottish elements, seeing as how King James I was king of Scotland.
Why do you think the play continues to remain a classic?