Macbeth Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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How does Shakespeare present ideas of power in Macbeth?

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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...

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