Antony and Cleopatra #
In the ruthless, ever-expanding empire of Rome, Shakespeare creates an astonishing portrait of a love too great for the world. '
Eternity was in our lips and eyes #
In the ruthless, ever-expanding empire of Rome, Shakespeare creates an astonishing portrait of a love too great for the world.
Mark Antony is a hero in a post-heroic world. He is torn between duty and love; his responsibility to Rome and his new life in Egypt; to the world he helped conquer; and his passion for Cleopatra.
Complex, charismatic, fierce. Cleopatra is a mother, a lover, a Queen. A woman not to be defied.
Variously described as an Egyptian dish -
“My salad days,
When I was green in judgment: cold in blood
or in sensual terms of:
Venus or Isis, the goddess who could not die:
As AGRIPPA describes her:
“Royal wench She made great Caesar lay his sword to bed: He plough’d her, and she cropp’d”.
This is a play on the biblical words of Isaiah: “they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks”. - Making love, not war. She dismisses Augustus' triumph as “owner of so much clay” and refuses to put herself under his shroud choosing a noble death by her own hand.
Studying Shakespeare’s Antony & Cleopatra, can influence the way we see power. Politics is an arena of power mongering between the two extreme poles; idealistic altruists or self serving plutocrats. In between lie the Pragmatists. We become aware of the role of powerplay in personal dynamics, in national and international governance, We can discern the various strategies practitioners use; tortuous machinations of Realpolitiks, chicanery employed to execute their powerplays.
We also gain a recognition of the importance of language in powerplay as well as the language of love in contrasting passages used by Antony and Cleopatra.
Octavius Caesar is a disciplined, cunning political strategist, which ultimately leads to his triumph. Antony, though once a skilled military leader, is distracted by Cleopatra, which becomes his political downfall. Cleopatra uses her physical beauty and seductive charm to execute her powerplays, wielding power through Antony by proxy.
Quotes from Antony and Cleopatra: #
Royal wench! She made great Caesar lay his sword to bed:
He plough’d her, and she cropp’d.
Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale Her infinite variety: other women cloy The appetites they feed: but she makes hungry Where most she satisfies
When it pleaseth their deities to take the wife of a man
from him, it shows to man the tailors of the earth;
comforting therein, that when old robes are worn
out, there are members to make new.
…and indeed the tears live in an onion
that should water this sorrow.