Power in Shakespeare

This clip explores royal and tyrannical power in Macbeth, the power of Juliet's father in Romeo and Juliet and the power of independent woman Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing.

Shakespeare’s plays represent many different kinds of power, and drama often occurs when power is abused. In Macbeth we see the contrast between the benign royal power of King Duncan who rules his country well, and the ambition for personal power of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, who commit a series of murders in order to steal his crown and protect their position. In Romeo and Juliet, Juliet's father abuses his power over his daughter, insisting she marry Paris or be disowned if she defies him. In Much Ado About Nothing, Beatrice is a powerful woman who refuses to bow to society's expectations that she will have an arranged marriage. Although she is frustrated that she can't protect her cousin Hero's honour in combat like a man, when she does marry it is a husband that she has chosen herself for love.

Teacher Notes

Links to human chains of power, current political climates - Trump vs Clinton in the USA elections. Political/economic/media/celebrity power in the UK. Debate the dangers of human power.

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching English Literature at Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and 3rd Level and National 4/5 in Scotland.