Antony and Cleopatra 5

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The representations and interplay of types of power: In Shakespeare's famous play Antony and Cleopatra, the powerful are portrayed including their personalities, their reactions to other powerful figures and the interplay of these powers as the characters interact.

Antony's Power: Shakespeare uses Rome and Egypt as binary opposites not just to reflect qualities inherent in the two places, but the changes that come upon Antony depending on which place he is in. The changes in Antony's behaviour and power-usage patterns can be seen through Shakespeare's constant juxtaposition of the Egyptian and Roman worlds. Antony's behaviour tends to change as in the exotic place that is Egypt Antony is allowed to escape from his Roman self : "I will to Egypt…I'th' east my pleasure lies."2.3.38-40. The word "pleasure" indicates that Egypt has a sexual appeal to him in the form of Cleopatra. He adores his role as king in Egypt, being the self-indulgent lover of Cleopatra. However in Rome, Antony must attend to his political ambitions, duty to administration, his citizens and soldiers. These are duties he does not wish to be burdened with: "Let Rome in Tiber melt and the wide arch / Of the ranged empire fall!" Antony describes his feelings while in Egypt as a hyperbole, which reflects how his behaviour becomes irrational.

Moving on to Cleopatra's Power, it can be seen that she uses her coercive sexual power to entice and manipulate Antony's behaviour and decisions, inevitably ending in the weakening of their relationship. Cleopatra knows her powers of manipulation: "I drunk him to bed;/ Then put my tires and mantles on him, whilst I wore his sword Philippan."2.5.21-23. She makes a mockery of him as he is the Philippan victor that is metaphorically stripped of his sword and therefore his political and sexual power, by a woman. She is described by him in a metaphor, as an "enchanting queen" which connotes a sense of uncontrolled mesmerisation with a powerful figure. To...
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