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

An exploration of the concept of Power in the play "Antony and Cleopatra".

Extracts from this document...


An exploration of the concept of Power in the play Power is used throughout "Antony and Cleopatra" in many different ways, it brings people together yet also pushes others apart and whilst power can be a useful thing, too much power or the abuse of power can lead to great confusion or greed between people. Power is one of the main themes in the play and controls not only the movement of the characters. For example Antony moving between Rome and Egypt to control his empire and meet with the Triumvirate, power also controls people's relationships. The power of love plays a strong part in the play, mainly between Antony and Cleopatra. From the opening lines of the play we get an impression of Cleopatra's power as two of Antony's soldiers are talking about how she has changed him, they refer to Antony saying he was a god like "Mars" until he met Cleopatra, but now his eyes "turn the office and devotion of their view" to everything that Cleopatra does. The power of love has always affected some part of Antony's life; if it were not his love for Cleopatra it would be his love of soldiering. In Act 1 Scene 4 we hear Caesar's opinion of how Antony used to be, he describes Antony as a hero and has a lot of respect for him, he uses similes to describe his power as being " like the stag." ...read more.


The idea that Cleopatra not only has power over people and great political power over Egypt but also seems to have some sort of power over nature itself is put across even more so in the language Shakespeare has used. Enobarbus starts his description of Cleopatra by describing "the barge she sat in, Like a burnished throne," this use of similes to describe Cleopatra's surrounding really makes her regal and powerfulness become apparent. Shakespeare's use of imagery is carried on throughout Enobarbus's speech mainly through his use of hyperbole, he compares Cleopatra to a goddess when Enobarbus says "O'erpicturing that Venus" showing that his impression of Cleopatra conveys more power than that of a God. Also the use of paradox by Shakespeare in Enobarbus's speech makes the perfection and power over life itself stand out more when he says that she "did make defect perfection" Cleopatra's supernatural power is further emphasised with more use of hyperbole when Enobarbus says "the winds were love sick," although in modern day we see this as a simple exaggeration of her powerful effect on life to a contempary audience when Enobarbus said this it would have had a great impact on them making them think that Cleopatra really did have effect and power over everything including nature itself making her seem even more god like. ...read more.


Take for example earlier on in the play in act 2 scene 1 when Pompey is planning his attack on Rome he says "Mark Antony In Egypt sits at dinner" showing that he as an enemy of the Triumvirate knows that when they are divided they are weak. This lack of power leaves them open for attack, both physically and mentally in Antony's case. He was physically attacked by Pompey and mentally attacked by Cleopatra in the way that she uses his weakness to regain his love for her and then in act 4 scene 13 she uses it when she sends a Mardian to Antony saying "go tell him I have slain myself", unfortunately for Cleopatra she did not realise how mentally weak Antony was and this lead to his death. The language used in Antony's final words show his weakness when he says "Now my spirit is going" conveying that Antony has excepted his fate. The concept of power interested me throughout the play as it can be used and interpreted in many different ways, it can be used for the good of some characters or manipulated by others in order to weaken or break up either a political or loving relationship. Power is described in many different ways throughout the play ranging from "enchanting" to "Like the stag." I feel that power was used as the main controlling factor throughout the play by Shakespeare and controlled both the actions and in-actions of the characters. Andrew Jones AH 12 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Antony & 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 GCSE Antony & Cleopatra essays

  1. Explore the love between antony and cleopatra throughout shakespeares play

    'A strange invisible perfume' is said to be smelt and 'she makes hungry where most she satisfies' shows how she is different from other women, captivating. This also applies to the fourth sense of taste, and the final sense is appealed to by 'whistling to the air'.

  2. How Shakespeare presents the character of Cleopatra in" Anthony and Cleopatra" The play of ...

    much like a fish "and as I draw them up, /Ill think them every one an Anthony, /And say " ah Ha! You're caught" (2.5/12-14) She abuses her grip over him and her betrayal of Anthony is very apparent in the play. When Cleopatra says, "I kiss his conqu'ring hand.

  1. Evaluate his taints and honours, thus enabling us to draw our own conclusions about ...

    He has very little Hamlet or Macbeth in him". With that in mind, Antony, having been left alone after an encounter with a fortune-teller reminds us of his torn loyalties as he decides to return to Cleopatra: "And though I make this marriage for my peace, I Th' east my pleasure lies."

  2. Antony & Cleopatra - Cleopatra

    All these inanimate objects, barge, wind, oars, air, city etc are given actions and in the passage, these inanimate things are even given motivations or feelings, notably sexual feelings, 'the silken tackle Swell with the touches of those flower-soft hands The winds were love-sick.'

  1. Discuss the 'variety' of Cleopatra, and how successfully Shakespeare presents the contribution, which this ...

    Even when Enobarbus says that Antony is "Traduc'd for levity" in Rome she refuses to listen, saying, "Sink Rome and their tongues rot / That speak against us!" Cleopatra's lack of sound reasoning is also reflected in the fact that she encourages Antony to fight at sea.

  2. How, in your opinion, does Shakespeare use language throughout the play to present Cleopatra's

    This is shown before the battle of Actium, when with little military knowledge, Cleopatra argues for a role in the battle. As Act 3 Scene 7 begins Cleopatra and Enobarbus are in the middle of the argument, it is clear that Cleopatra is not willing to back down as her

  1. "Rare Egyptian" or "Foul Egyptian"? Discuss how Cleopatra is presented to us. What is ...

    afar she seems much more reasonable and pleasant than she is to people who know her better. Calling Cleopatra a whore is an insult commonly used by Romans: this is the one Antony chooses to use in Act 3 Scene 13.

  2. How does Shakespeare use language to convey Enobarbus's wonder at Cleopatra nd her effect ...

    Although Agrippa later conveys her uniqueness among her race, "Rare Egyptian!" his jealously later raises its ugly head again when he appears to question her character, "Royal wench!" Initially Agrippa appears to understand why Antony had fallen head over heels for Cleopatra, but is then reduced to name calling.

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