Study Guide

Citizen Kane Power

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It's almost impossible for Charles Kane to separate his concept of love from his concept of power. Yes, this is unhealthy. (You had to ask?)

In his mind, love is something you force people to give you by throwing money and favors at them. He even tries to get power by becoming the governor of New York. But that whole thing blows up in his face when he gets caught in a sexual affair with Susan Alexander. The affair never needs to come to light, but it does because Kane refuses to let anyone have power over him and pretty much dares the blackmailer to release the facts about the affair. His inability to accept his own weakness undermines him at this point… and continues undermining him throughout the rest of Citizen Kane.

Questions About Power

  1. Is there anyone in this movie who has power over Charles Kane? Why or why not?
  2. At what point in his life does Kane have the most power? Why?
  3. When does Kane's power go away? Why?

Chew on This

In Citizen Kane, we learn that power doesn't mean much if you've got no one to hold it over.

Citizen Kane shows us that power can never force people to love you.

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