Powerplay in Texts - Antony and Cleopatra (Shakespeare), Gladiator (Ridley Scott) & the Statue of Liberty (Warren Brown)

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Powerplay in Texts!

Power is conditional; it’s a measure of one individual’s ability to control the environment around itself, including the behaviour of other entities through manipulation and exploitation. The application of power, whether this be physical or sexual, individual or political, private or public, replicates one’s ability to control, command and influence others. Ultimately, an entity with power is permitted to employ this for the benefit of others, or unfortunately to their detriment. Power is transient therefore, gains or losses in power can significantly impact on an individual’s human experience. Three texts permeated by power struggles include Shakespeare’s catastrophic play Antony and Cleopatra, Ridley Scott’s film ‘Gladiator’ (2000), and Warren Brown’s political cartoon ‘The Statue of Liberty’. Each composer employs a variety of literary and visual techniques including dialogue, symbolism, sound (both diegetic and non-diegetic), mise-en-scene, irony, soliloquy and emotive language, to explore the transformative effect of power on the human experience. These powerplays are extremely persuasive, and thus we are convinced to embrace the perspectives offered in these texts. The major powers examined in the three texts are political, militaristic and sexual.

Antony and Cleopatra is a disastrous play that illustrates a chronicle of two leaders from two very different worlds who fall profoundly in love with each other and their endeavor to sustain their relationship against the Roman Empire, however, it ends tragically with their suicides. Antony grapples with the conflict between his love for Cleopatra and his duties to the Roman Empire; the geographical poles that draw him in opposite directions represent deep-seated conflicts between his reason and emotion, his sense of duty and his desire, his obligations to the state and his private needs. Soliloquies are used throughout the play as a means of aiding the audience to understand the...
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