To What Extent Do the Characters Antony and Caesar Embody the Conflicting Worlds of Egypt and Rome in Antony and Cleopatra

Topics: Roman Empire, Roman Republic, Ancient Rome Pages: 5 (1596 words) Published: February 16, 2006

The Shakespearian play ‘Antony and Cleopatra' is a tragic love story between the two characters Antony a Triumvate Ruler of Rome and Cleopatra the Queen of Egypt. The play of Antony and Cleopatra is not just a tragic love story it also incorporates a storyline of international politics, therefore making it a public and also a private drama in which Antony and Octavius Caesar contend for control of the Roman Empire.

The play commences in 40 BC during this time the Roman Empire was still in control of most of the world stretching between Britain in the west and what is now known as Turkey in the east. Due to the vast amount of land under control by the Roman Empire, the Roman Senate created a Triumvate. This consisted of three rulers of Rome to try to keep the peace between the people. During the play the three Triumvate rulers are Lepidus, Caesar and Antony.

The characters of Antony and Caesar become more and more egoistic, where as Lepidus stays within his neutrality of all being equal persons. There are an endless amount of codes of behaviour in which the Romans and the Egyptians embody. Romans and Egyptians conflict in every way possible such as that Romans are private with their problems/meetings, whereas Egyptians are as public as can be they seem very much open with all of their troubles.

Also, Romans are organised in time and always plan any occasions or battles in which they take part, they are very precise and take time to think over what they need to do. Where as, with the Egyptians they are very spontaneous and throw party's randomly when it pleases them as if they were timeless in all of the things to do.

Caesar throughout the play contains all of the new conventional mannerisms that the Romans embodied, these are such things as him being Ambitious and ruthless in his political matters, as well as how he plans battles. This is shown during the lead up to the battle scene and after the battle scene. During this scene we see how Caesar decides in that he shall not take the request of Antony to man-to-man battle, or ‘Strike not by land; keep whole; provoke not battle till we have done at sea.', this helps prove that Caesar embodies the true Roman for he is ambitious to beat Antony, so that he may take the full throne of Rome for himself.

It is said to achieve and maintain empire is to be practical, far-sighted, efficient, and ruthless if necessary, not romantic or chivalrous. This means having to know oneself, knowing one's enemy and being prepared to take advantage of the moment. These are all mannerisms embodied within Caesar. They are shown through the play by the few scenes in which Caesar takes place.

Rome and Egypt in ‘Antony and Cleopatra' symbolize the extreme definitions by which human beings can take stock of their lives Rome being the outer being and Egypt being the inner being . Taken together, they sum up the possibilities for human fulfilment.

Throughout the whole of the play we only see one true Roman like act was when he proposed and agreed towards the political marriage when he returns to Rome the first time since he met Cleopatra. The second roman act that Antony tries to do but yet again fails on it is when he Eros would rather take his own life than Antony's and so Antony's only way out is to fall upon his sword as the final loyal act that of a true roman. Antony cannot even comply with this due to how he embodies Egypt more than Rome itself.

Antony also starts the play with betrayal wherein his own country sends him a messenger but he turns them down as to try to forget about his past life to move on with his new life with Cleopatra ‘Grates me! The sum' within this line he confirms in what Philo said at the opening to the play that Antony shall turn away from Rome. We are then shown that it has begun from how he re-acts towards the news from Rome and that he actually dismisses...
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