Antony and Cleopatra

Pain, Power and Folly

The title characters of Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra are difficult to fully understand due to their seemingly illogical actions towards one another. At times, they seem to be in direct opposition to each other's causes, yet still fully and passionately in love with one another. Their story is one unique to Shakespeare's canon of works; while parallels can be drawn to the likes of Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra stands alone in its portrayal of the pleasures and pitfalls of love. Antony and Cleopatra's love is the catalyst that propels them both into and out of power. Their allowance of the relationship to overwhelm and rule their lives eventually leads to their downfall.

Antony and Cleopatra's relationship is at once passionate and fractious because of the weight it carries with the two lovers. It is symbiotic; each relies on the other to further their cause. Antony boasts of his ability to bring assorted kings and despots under his and Cleopatra's banner. Such a feat would require vigilant attention to ensure loyalty and solidarity in command. The effects of Antony and Cleopatra's lax leadership are evident towards the close of the play, as their forces fracture and capitulate. The very driving...

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