Antony and Cleopatra essay

Essay by yooo June 2008

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“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power." Abraham Lincoln.

Powerplay occurs between various institutions, ideologies, individuals and in different forms. In essence, it is the attaining and wielding of power for personal agendas. The powerful and their situations can be represented in various ways, offering many insights into the nature of politics. The fulfilment of personal desire through the control of others is Powerplay at its simplest. Power, moreover, is largely seen to be transient, and not everlasting, rather, a temporary source of greatness and dominance. Although power has many sources, it evidently manifests itself most vibrantly and vividly in human relationships, that is, through people, events and personalities. This is ultimately seen in the Shakespearean drama tragedy, “Antony and Cleopatra”, the film, “Men Of Our Time: Hitler” and the satirical novel “Animal Farm”, by George Orwell.

The concepts of shift in power, betrayal and concealment of information, are evidently portrayed in these texts. Although the texts differ in their style, form and structure, the general principle concerning the manifestation and interpretation of power is common to all.

In the focus text Antony and Cleopatra, the powerful are portrayed as extremely artificial and, in their artifice, extremely attractive. Shakespeare’s characters speak in verse and rhythmic iambic pentameter to capture the essence of the powerful illusions upon which they are entirely dependent to maintain their influence. This is most overly true of Cleopatra, the quintessential drama queen. Her attempts to keep Antony from returning to Rome in the first act are evident of this. Even as she is disparaging Caesar, Fulvia, Antony, and Rome, “who knows/ if the scarce bearded Caesar have not sent/ his powerful to mandate you”, and using all her apparent sexual...