The only surviving source of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, which seems to have been adapted for a court performance for King James, is centralized around the struggles of different power dynamics. This works well in the context of interpolated compliments to King James and his right to rule.
As a nod towards King James as the rightful ruler of both England and Scotland, Macbeth transfers its power symbolically from Scotland to England. After King Duncan’s murder, his son Malcolm flees to England to ask for help. He is “received/Of the most pious King Edward with such grace/That the malevolence of fortune nothing/Takes from his high respect” (Act 3, Scene 6, Lines 27-9). King Edward is recruiting the English forces to help Scotland get rid of Macbeth, their tyrant king. “Upon his aid,/To wake Northumberland and warlike Siward,/That by the help of these—with Him above/To ratify the work” (Act 2, Scene 6, Lines 30-3). This puts the English king in the position of the divine savior. Scotland is sick, and England has got the cure. At the end, everything is put right by the power of pure England and its divine king. Holding Macbeth’s head, Macduff announces that “the time is free” (Act 5, Scene 8, Line 55). Macbeth’s evil has been swept away out from Scotland and replaced with a rightful ruler. Malcolm says, “My thanes and kinsmen,/Henceforth be earls, the first that ever Scotland/In such an honor named” (Act 5, Scene 8, Lines 63-5). Already, the old Scottish ways are being replaced by the greatness of England. Although Malcolm is crowned at the end rather than Fleance, the witches’ prophecy was known to be true by Shakespeare’s audience, because King James was a descendant of Banquo’s.