Elective 2: Powerplay – Antony & Cleopatra
Consider representations of and the interplay of types of power Analyse portrayals of the powerful
Consider how the depiction of particular relationships provides insight into the nature of politics Consider the extent to which power resides with the people
Delays entry of main characters and Caesar
Caesar powerful- delayed entrance- magnifies his power for audience (dramatic technique) Soothsayer foreshadowing/foretelling
“You shall outlive the lady whom you serve” (Cleopatra’s death) “I thou dost play with him at any game, thou art sure to lose” (Antony’s fall to Caesar)
Soliloquy- dramatic monologue
climatic- heightened sense of the character’s soul being laid bare Antony berating himself for not being strong enough to break the ties with Cleopatra- stupid enough to follow her ships Foreshadowing his own death – “O’ Sun, thy uprise shall I see no more”
Sounds of battle
Cannon fire, trumpets, drums – dramatizes it, makes it more realistic Dramatic terms- limited by stage, can’t have proper battle scene Symbol of warfare
Cleopatra’s power over Antony seen when Antony tries to tell Cleopatra about Fulvia, but she constantly cuts him off. Eg. “now, my dearest queen – “ ; “Cleopatra – “ ; “Most sweet queen – “ ; “Hear me queen:” Dashes used to signal when he is being cut off and Cleopatra’s speech takes over
Represents Caesar’s power
“But stirred by Cleopatra” – moved by her emotionally and sexually
So extensive are the lands involved that on many occasions the word ‘world’ is employed with regard to the central characters eg Fulvia: “Wars twixt you twain would be As if the world should cleave”
“oh happy horse, to bear the weight of Antony!”
“he did’st drink the stale of horses”
Caesar describes himself and Antony as two war-horses that could not ‘stall together’ Snakes:
Prepares us for the ‘pretty worm of Nilus’ – the asp that frees Cleopatra from Caesar’s power Eg ‘serpent of old nile’
“O’ thy vile lady! She has robbed me of my sword” – swordà manhood which he sacrificed in his sojourn in Eqypt dramatizes, imagery
Cleopatra beating messenger à abuse of power
Adds drama/action and excitement to the play with the message being displayed visually
The play covers a period of several years making the rhythm rather vigorous- giving the audience the impression of perpetual shift in power.
Types of Power
The Power of Sex/Love
Power through Deception
Personal Power (suicide)
Rome: democratic state, the senate ultimately decided what and what not was to be done. Leaders need the respect of the roman people to retain their power.
The three pillars of the world represent an image of power - a triumvirate - that has, by definition, to be shared but will, in fact, never be evenly distributed.
Powerplay existed strongly in the triumvirate - it was a constant battle for more power between the partners, especially between Antony & Caesar. o
Caesar defeated Lepidus illegally by claiming he was a traitor and put him in jail o
and Antony & Caesar went to war against each other, unable to rule alongside each other As Caesar said (regretfully): “we could not stall together In the whole world”- the world was not big enough for them both to rule.
The nature of the relationship between Caesar & Antony: Caesar refers to Antony as “our great competitor”.
Example of Antony’s imperial power: he saw the world as property that he could carve up and do what he liked with
”I will piece
Her opulent throne with kingdoms. All the East…
shall call her Mistress.”
Unfortunately, such a large amount of power also requires responsibility- which Antony neglected. This misuse of power led to his downfall.
Caesar defeats other triumvirs, gains supreme power...
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