Astor Opera House Riot
In 1849, two competing productions of Macbeth were held on the same night in New York City. The result was the worst disaster in theatre history.
Elegant thespian William Macready was performing at the upscale Astor Opera House, while his mighty rival Edwin Forrest was on stage only a few blocks away at the Broadway Theatre. Forrest and his fans were, by all accounts, a group of low-rent bullies, incensed that English-born Macready was diverting attention from Forrest, who was carving out a name for himself as the first great American-born Shakespearean actor.
A mob of loud, insufferable Forrest groupies had disrupted a previous Macready performance, throwing chairs from the balcony on to the stage below. Preparing for the worst, Macready asked militiamen to guard the theatre during his performance of Macbeth.
When Forrest's fanatics arrived carrying glass bottles and stones as weapons, they were met by Macready's armed guards. In the ensuing clash twenty-two people lost their lives, including innocent people walking by the theatre.
Why are the Witches referred to as the Weird Sisters?
Who is Hecate?
Are the Witches' lines in iambic pentameter?
Which three apparitions do the Witches show Macbeth?
Did Shakespeare write Macbeth for James I?
Can you describe the relationship between Macbeth and the Witches?
How did Shakespeare link symbolism and mysticism in Macbeth?
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)
Explanatory Notes for Lady Macbeth's Soliloquy (1.5)
Explanatory Notes for the Witches' Chants (4.1)
Macbeth Plot Summary (Acts 1 and 2)
Macbeth Plot Summary (Acts 3, 4 and 5)
The Curse of Macbeth
Shakespeare's Sources for Macbeth
Macbeth Q & A
Temptation, Sin, Retribution: Lecture Notes on Macbeth
Macbeth Study Quiz (with detailed answers)
Quotations from Macbeth (Full)
Top 10 Quotations from Macbeth
Metaphors in Macbeth (Biblical)