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The personal and political are inseparable in 'Antonyand Cleopatra'; the one informs the other. To what extent do you agree with this view of the play?

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Introduction

India Silvani- Jones 12J Mr. Thorpe 25th March The personal and political are inseparable in 'Antony and Cleopatra'; the one informs the other. To what extent do you agree with this view of the play? The political and personal issues in 'Antony and Cleopatra' are often closely linked and it is often the case that political events are results of personal issues. Relationships are also affected by both the personal and political. This is shown when Caesar enforces the idea that Antony should marry his sister, Octavia. Caesar perhaps exploits his sister to an extent, using her as a means of solidifying a link and loyalty of alliance between the second triumvirate in order to defeat Pompey. Caesar's lack of respect for Octavia, shown in this way is something you would not expect from siblings in such a respected position in society. Antony is bound to snub Octavia for Cleopatra, as Enobarbus predicts to Caesar's men, leaving her extremely upset and with this as a possible reason for Caesar to propose war. Antony agrees to the idea, perhaps to attempt to strengthen the links between him and Caesar for his own benefits, by bringing himself into the family. This shows that such personal issues such as love and marriage, which should normally be taken so seriously, are used for the advantage of political affairs. ...read more.

Middle

This is shown by the marriage between Octavia and Antony, where she is so greatly used. The exception to these women is Cleopatra. She shows her powers of manipulation and the control she has over Antony, although in my opinion she does not only want to have power over him, she genuinely does love him. This is shown by the time when they appear together publicly at the Donation Ceremony in Rome. This has the possibility of looking like a political move, on the surface, but it is also likely that Antony and Cleopatra are using this occasion as a way to display their love for each other. Antony perhaps realises his stupidity and the way that he made the wrong decision by following Cleopatra's ship in her flee during the battle. His decision, which was one that affected the political side of things, was based on his personal feelings for Cleopatra. Shakespeare uses effective imagery when Antony says to Cleopatra, "My heart was to thy rudder tied to the strings, And thou shouldst tow me after." Antony is aware of this fact and here, the mixture between the political and personal has only caused problems. Antony is embarrassed about this, "Hark, the land bids me tread no more upon't, It is ashamed to bear me. ...read more.

Conclusion

From his reaction to the deaths of Antony and Cleopatra, Caesar appears in a more human light. The political result of the death of Antony affects Caesar's personal opinion of him and perhaps even of himself. The way his feelings are so mixed about Antony convinces us that he is not as obsessed with victory and power when it comes down to it, as he portrays. He had appeared, throughout most of the play that he would like nothing more than to destroy Antony, yet when he achieves this he is not smug or happy with the result. The way in which he commands that Antony and Cleopatra are put to rest beside one another, shows that he is trying to be fair and that he is perhaps feeling guilty about Antony's death. Caesar himself is quite aware of this variation in his own character. The self- realisation here is brought on by the fact that Caesar is shocked at the way that he reacts when finally achieving what he had wanted all along. He speaks with such maturity and genuine fairness that it is easy to see why he is such a strong and respected leader by many. "...A pair so famous. High events as these Strike those that make them; and their story is No less in pity than his glory which Brought them to be lamented." (V. ii. ...read more.

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