Powerplays; Antony and Cleopatra, the Last of the Mohicans, Animal Farm

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“Relationships at all levels involve complex power play.” The term ‘power play’ refers to the political, social, militaristic, sexual and personal struggles between opposing forces. All relationships, regardless of how intimate or distant they may be, involve different concepts of complex power plays. These concepts are exemplified in William Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra which demonstrates military power, the physical application of political power, between opposing forces as a means of gaining power over Rome and Egypt. The main power play in this text revolves around the concept of politics and is seen between Antony and Caesar throughout the first act of this play. From the very beginning we are given no illusion as to the nature of the relationship which exists between the two with the first sentence we hear Caesar speak referring to Antony as “our great competitor”. This is the platform on which the power play of the text evolves, reaching a peak at the beginning of the second act where lives are changed not out of love, referring to the arranged marriage between Antony and Octavia, but out of an idea that perhaps an advantage could lie in the arranged marriage. In Egypt, the convoluted sexual power play takes place between Antony and Cleopatra. Initially, she is described as a ‘lustful gypsy’, a ‘wrangling queen’, and ‘cunning past man’s thought’, to ‘an Egyptian dish’. The power which she employs over Antony is a different type of power to that of the Roman Empire, usually sexually stimulated with constant emotional blackmail; “So mightily betrayed! Yet at the first I saw the treasons planted”, her power is something that Antony has never come up against. This serves to keep Antony as Cleopatra’s faithful pet, always on the defensive and in the eyes of others particularly the ones viewing from Rome, this negatively impacts on his once undisputed power status, “Nay, but this dotage of our general’s o’erflows the measure”. Even within their casual...
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