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Written byEugène Ionesco
Date premiered1972
Place premieredThéâtre de l'Alliance française
Original languageFrench

Macbett is Eugène Ionesco's satire on Shakespeare's Macbeth first staged in 1972.[1][2]


Two generals, Macbett and Banco, put down a rebellion. In payment for their heroic service, Archduke Duncan promises to bestow on them land, titles and cash, but he reneges on the deal. Encouraged by the seductive Lady Duncan, Macbett plots to assassinate the Archduke and crown himself King. He tries to maintain his tenuous grip on the throne through a vicious cycle of murder and bloodshed. Meanwhile, he is haunted by the ghosts of his victims and discovers that his new wife is not all that she seems.


Written during the Cold War, Ionesco's Macbett remoulds Shakespeare's Macbeth into a comic tale of ambition, corruption, cowardice and excess, creating a tragic farce which takes human folly to its wildest extremes. Innovations include a long conversation between the thanes of Glamiss and Candor, the characters of a lemonade seller and butterfly hunter, and the revelation that the rightful heir to the throne is a worse tyrant than Macbett ever was.[3]

See also[edit]



  • Billington, Michael (18 June 2007). "Macbett". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  • Curtiss, Thomas Quinn (9 February 1972). "Ionesco Upends Macbeth Story". The New York Times. p. 45. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  • Smith, Emma (2003). Macbeth: Language and Writing. Arden Student Guides. A&C Black. ISBN 9781408156032.