rival actors Edwin Forrest, an American, and William
Charles Macready, an Englishman, had presented competing interpretations of Shakespeare's Macbeth. The rivalry between the two men was primarily a stylistic one, with each representing a different way of acting the title role in the play. Audiences, however, saw in the two interpretations a break along other, more deeply seeded, lines of social class and status. Many in the American audience, primed with anti-English sentiment that saw Macready and other English as socially elite, turned on Macready and his supporters, and violence erupted, leaving several dead and scores wounded.