Macbeth Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

Macbeth book cover
Start Your Free Trial

How does Shakespeare present ideas of power in Macbeth?

Expert Answers info

David Alberts, Ph.D. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseCollege Professor, Professional Writer

bookB.A. from Kent State University

bookM.A. from West Virginia State University

bookPh.D. from Bowling Green State University


calendarEducator since 2019

write840 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Science

In Macbeth, Shakespeare seems to be showing us that the effort required to attain power, no matter how difficult attaining that power might be, is significantly less than the effort required to keep that power.

Within minutes of killing Duncan, Macbeth faces the first of many challenges to the power he believes he's on his way to acquiring.

In the excitement of watching Macbeth accede to Lady Macbeth's urgings and kill Duncan, the audience assumes that when Macbeth kills Duncan, Macbeth becomes king. The audience forgets that killing Duncan is just the first step on Macbeth's way to becoming king.

In act 1, scene 4, after the battle in which Macbeth fought so bravely, Duncan gathers his nobles together to tell them that he's naming his son, Malcolm, as heir to his throne. Even while he's contemplating killing Duncan early in the play, Macbeth knows that he'll have to do more than kill Duncan to become King.

MACBETH: The Prince of Cumberland! [Malcolm]. That is a step
On which I must fall down, or...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 1,120 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now




















check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Wallace Field eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12)


calendarEducator since 2016

write7,337 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Arts

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Mike Walter eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2012

write1,473 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial