• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

'Ruthless leader....loving brother....boring Puritan....gracious victor.' Explore the way in which Shakespeare presents the character of Octavius Caesar in 'Antony

Extracts from this document...


'Ruthless leader....loving brother....boring Puritan....gracious victor.' Explore the way in which Shakespeare presents the character of Octavius Caesar in 'Antony and Cleopatra' Shakespeare portrays Octavius Caesar as a very complex character in 'Antony and Cleopatra.' Shakespeare shows the audience how he has very strong feelings about War, leadership, the relationship between Antony and Cleopatra, and his sister Octavia. These attitudes can be seen as being too rational, too ambitious, and too efficient. However it is these characteristics which in some ways, form the particular contrast with Antony, which shows us his complex character, which also contributes to the conflicts which arise in the play. Shakespeare is very clever in the portrayal of Caesar; he uses Caesar as a foil for Antony, however he is a character in his own right. Shakespeare shows Caesar to be, what you could say, a contradiction. The audience see how Caesar respects Antony's soldier-ship yet still fights him; they see how he clearly loves his sister, but uses her unscrupulously as a political device; and they are shown how he is very rational and dull, yet he surprisingly tells his soldiers, as well as some Egyptians about how he would parade the defeated Cleopatra. ...read more.


What is interesting is Caesar's reaction to the deaths of Antony and Cleopatra. There are suggestions that Caesar believes that they could have been successful partners. He says about them 'that our stars Unreconciliable.' It makes it seem as though Caesar believes it to be almost inevitable, as if it were fate that the ending was so tragic. This cours from coursework.info The way in which Caesar is compassionate when finding out about Cleopatra's death, again highlights the idea that he does show some regret and remorse concerning his relationship with Antony. Caesar announces, concerning Cleopatra that 'she shall be buried by her Antony.' Caesar is noble and compassionate, which is somewhat out of character in saying this; he is completely against their relationship when they are alive, yet in their deaths he shows respect towards the two as a couple. He refers to them as 'A pair so famous.' This shows that Caesar does have some sentimentality. This is unexpected due to the fact that it is clear that Caesar admires strength, so one could think that he would look less upon Antony in particular, as he took his own life through love, which is not particularly recognised as an honourable "Roman" act. ...read more.


He acts almost petty, by assuming that she looks or acts no differently to one of her servants. He is also looking down on Cleopatra; he is probably the only person who was not susceptible to Cleopatra's charm, charisma and immense beauty. However within this subtle insult Caesar refers to Cleopatra as 'Queen of Egypt.' This does show a respect amongst leaders, which again shows his efficiency and loyalty to his status and position.coeg egr seegegw oreg egk ineg foeg eg; It is clever and effective how Shakespeare has portrayed Caesar in 'Antony and Cleopatra' he has a large impact into the tension in the play, due to his contradicting views and attitudes. It is clear how complex the character of Caesar is. The way, in which Corin Redgrave portrayed the character of Octavius Caesar in the 1975 Royal Shakespeare Company performance, has increasingly helped to clarify certain ideas, which arose in the play. His blank, rather monotone appearance, and his limited sign of facial expressions throughout the entire play gave the impression that the character of Caesar is dull, boring and rather more concerned with tactics and war, which does oppose the ideals and attitudes of Antony, and it is these contrasting views and methods of work which enable the audience to understand and recognise the complexity of Caesar's character. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Antony and Cleopatra section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Antony and Cleopatra essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Explore the ways Shakespeare presents the concept of authority in Antony and Cleopatra

    4 star(s)

    The power relationship between the lovers is also a main focus of the play and is a very interesting one displayed by Shakespeare in many ways. Enobarbus's description of the pair's first meeting at the river Cydnus, Act 2, Scene 2 is not only a beautiful story with wonderful language

  2. Explore how Shakespeare presents the relationship between Antony and Cleopatra.

    the battle being even with Antony having the advantage, Cleopatra flees the battle "like a cow in June" and Antony follows "like a doting mallard". Shakespeare's imagery presented in the references to animals, 'cow' and 'mallard', brings upon the effects that Antony and Cleopatra are both as one in species

  1. An exploration of Shakespeare's presentation of Rome and Egypt in Antony and Cleopatra

    Shakespeare uses different images to highlight the diverse characteristics of Rome and Egypt. These images are often shown through the actions of Antony and Cleopatra throughout the play. In Act 2 Scene 2 Enonbarbus describes Cleopatra as a "dish" and throughout the play Cleopatra is compared to foods, as she is viewed as being food fit "for the Gods."

  2. "A better title for this play would be 'Cleopatra and Antony' because Cleopatra is ...

    the play, depicting her control over Antony and the consequences this has. Enobarbus plays a key role in raising Cleopatra's status in emphasising the effect she has on Antony. In these passages, Enobarbus, acting as a narrator linking the audience to the characters, turns Antony's and Cleopatra's meeting into a

  1. An essay on the first stanza of 'A game of chess'

    To stress the fact that although the woman has them, they are not full of life like the ones in Imogen's bedroom. The woman in the room, a metaphor for people in the wasteland, is completely artificial and Eliot shows us that he disapproves of this through his comparison of

  2. Antony is often talked of as a tragic hero, a great and admiral man ...

    Caesar tells Antony "You have broken the article of your oath" he also says "To lend me arms and aid when I required them, The which you both denied." Here Caesar is reminding Antony that he has broken his oath because when Caesar needed help whilst he was fighting Pompey,

  1. How does Anthony and Cleopatra present the contrast between the conquering west and the ...

    world whilst women are political pawns and like Octavia, are of "holy, cold and still conversation". The primary Roman virtue is service to the state through prestigious and acclaimed attributes like fortitude, constancy and valour. Caesar laments the change in Antony's priorities and reminds him on their first meeting in

  2. Show how Shakespeare brings out the duality in Antonys character in Act 1.

    Later on in this scene, Antony makes reference to the people of Rome, describing them as ?our slippery people, whose love is never linked to the deserver?. This shows that Antony has little respect for the ordinary people of Rome and sees them as worthless fools with no loyalty.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work