Antony And Cleopatra And The Aeneid

1878 words - 8 pages

There are two reasons why The Aeneid is associated with the Shakespearean play Antony and Cleopatra. First, The Aeneid was written by a Roman named Virgil who, among many other reasons, wrote it as a tribute for Augustus Caesar, the leader of the Roman Empire. Augustus Caesar was formally named Octavian and is a character in Shakespeare's play. Secondly, both The Aeneid and Antony and Cleopatra share a common theme of a patriotic, heroic man having to choose between duty to his country and the passionate love of a beautiful, foreign and strong queen. In The Aeneid, the lovers are Aeneas and Dido and Antony and Cleopatra are the lovers in Shakespeare's play.

First, an overview of the books of The Aeneid in which Aeneas is with Dido is needed in order to fully understand the historical connection, and the thematic comparison to Antony and Cleopatra. "The Aeneid tells the story of the Trojan hero Aeneas's perilous flight from Troy to Italy following the Trojan War. In Italy, Aeneas's descendents are destined to found Rome" (Sparknotes). However, Aeneas does not go straight to Italy because having been blown off course by a storm, he makes a stop at Carthage and allows himself to stay there and fall in love with the leader of Carthage, Dido (Slavitt 103). Dido is a "Phoenician princess who fled her home and founded Carthage after her brother murdered her husband" (Sparknotes). While in Carthage, Aeneas recounts the story of the Trojan War. Impressed by Aeneas's adventures and sympathetic to his suffering, Dido falls in love with Aeneas. They live together as lovers for a period, until the gods remind Aeneas of his duty to found a new city. Upon this reminder from the Gods, Aeneas leaves Carthage and sets sail to Italy. Dido is devastated by his departure, and kills herself with the sword Aeneas leaves behind (Sparknotes). Aeneas eventually reaches Italy and establishes Rome.

The first reason why The Aeneid is associated with Antony and Cleopatra is because a character in Antony and Cleopatra, Octavian, later known as Augustus, is the leader of the Roman Empire during the time when Virgil wrote The Aeneid and for whom it was written. Historically, before Augustus became emperor, internal strife plagued the Roman government. During Virgil's youth, the First Triumvirate which included Julius Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus governed the Roman Empire. Crassus was killed around 53 B.C.E., and Caesar initiated civil war against Pompey. After defeating Pompey, Caesar reigned alone until the Ides of March in 44 B.C., when Brutus and Cassius, two senators, assassinated him. Civil war erupted between the assassins and the Second Triumvirate which included Octavian, Antony, and Lepidus. By 36 B.C.E., only Octavian and Antony remained, and they began warring against each other. At the Battle of Actium in 31 B.C., Octavian defeated Antony and his ally Cleopatra of Egypt, finally consolidating power in himself alone (Sparknotes). Shakespeare's play follows the...

Find Another Essay On Antony and Cleopatra and The Aeneid

William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra Essay

2655 words - 11 pages William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra In the play Antony and Cleopatra, the character of Cleopatra is one of many dimensions and be seen a person of complex diversity. Her personality is mainly about

William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra Essay

1112 words - 4 pages William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra “Heaven help the American-born boy with a talent for ballet” – Camille Paglia The prim and proper women and the strong and strapping men are no match for Shakespeare’s haze of character’s muddled together in Antony and Cleopatra. As always Shakespeare delivers a luminary cast of individuals that deviate from the socially accepted gender roles. As the audience works its way through the

William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra

1360 words - 5 pages William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra While Mark Antony is a great general, one of the three triumvant, it is indeed impossible to feel sympathy for him in his extreme "dotage" for Cleopatra. He "fishes, drinks and wastes the lamps of night in revel", hence destroying his own reputation, and even losing his masculinity

Tragedy in "Antony and Cleopatra"

3525 words - 14 pages "Antony and Cleopatra" seems to have a special place in Shakespeare's works because it is at a crossroad between two types of play. It clearly belongs to what are generally called the 'Roman' plays, along with Coriolanus and Julius Caesar. But it is also considered a tragedy. The importance of history in the play cannot be denied, especially where it is compared to Shakespeare's 'great' tragedies such as Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet. But one

Essay on the Love Story of Antony and Cleopatra

1659 words - 7 pages The Love Story of Antony and Cleopatra      The tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra can be said to have an overall effect of comical lightness. In this way, it is altogether different from the preceding tragedies, although the tragedy that leads to the death and destruction of Antony and Cleopatra is definitely a matter of choice rather than of circumstances that engulf the hero. Yet, ultimately their tragic ending differs greatly from the

The Character of Enorbarbus in William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra

965 words - 4 pages The Character of Enorbarbus in William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra Enobarbus’s character can be seen as the most striking invention of Shakespeare. As the lieutenant of Antony, he contributes to the drama in a number of ways. He is sympathetic to Antony from the start, loyal and fellow feeling. Instead of agreeing with Antony at the beginning where he says he wishes he had never met Cleopatra, Enobarbus

The truly tragic figure in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra is Cleopatra. Discuss

836 words - 3 pages Barbara Everett rightly claims that the play ‘is continually suggestively of different kinds and categories of drama.’ This is not simply a tragedy and no character is simply and ‘truly’ tragic. However, Cleopatra, Antony and Enobarbus have tragic elements – grandeur, nobility, fateful misjudgements and a fall from the heights – as well as lesser qualities. It would be true to add, though, that Cleopatra is the

Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare

1860 words - 7 pages Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare Antony and Cleopatra is a play in which the balance of power swings interestingly between two lovers. It is set in the First Century BC between Rome and Egypt. Antony is one of the three members of the second triumvirate who jointly rule the Roman Empire. Antony is the eponymous tragic hero, who allows his love for Cleopatra to cloud his judgement. According to Aristotle

Triumph Over Tragedy in Antony and Cleopatra

1956 words - 8 pages Triumph Over Tragedy in Antony and Cleopatra       A plot summary of Antony and Cleopatra would suggest that it is a tragedy. The play focuses on the downfall of Antony as a Roman warrior due to his love affair with Cleopatra, as well as the suicides of both the protagonists. However, despite these incidents, the play lacks the somber note of Shakespeare's other tragedies. Cleopatra, who represents the merriment of Egyptian society, lends

Powerplay In Shakespeare's, 'Antony And Cleopatra'

945 words - 4 pages Antony and CleopatraThroughout the play, Antony and Cleopatra, the charactors' use and manipulation of power have certain impacts on their decisions and their lives. Right from the outset, the audience is made aware of certain plays on power and the impact this has on the delicate relationships in the play. The plays theme of power play circulates mostly around the politics surrounding Antony and the Triumvirs and Antony's relationship with

Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare

2487 words - 10 pages Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra opens with a five-scene act, four of which takes place in Egypt and one in Rome. In the opening act of the play, the audience is introduced to several characters, some of which play a prominent role throughout the play and others that only appear in the opening act and remain anonymous to the audience in spite of their crucial theatrical

Similar Essays

Antony And Cleopatra Powerplay Essay

691 words - 3 pages Power Play- Antony and CleopatraPower plays are plots and machinations to gain control over their professional and personal lives. They are used as a tactic to manipulate and gain control over people of those who are equally, less or ever more powerful than themselves. Shakespeare conveys these ideas throughout the tragedy, Antony and Cleopatra. Antony and Cleopatra focuses mainly on the ideas of sexual power, political power and personal power

Antony And Cleopatra Essay

796 words - 3 pages Mark Antony, one of the three rulers of the Roman Empire, spends his time in Egypt, living a life of decadence and conducting an affair with the country's beautiful queen, Cleopatra. When a message arrives informing him that his wife, Fulvia, is dead and that Pompey is raising an army to rebel against the triumvirate, Antony decides to return to Rome. In Antony's absence, Octavius Caesar and Lepidus, his fellow triumvirs, worry about Pompey's

Antony And Cleopatra Essay

5856 words - 23 pages In this essay I will explore the transformations of two signs that structure Antony and Cleopatra: performance and writing. As each circulates in the diverse dramatic contexts of the play, they articulate its thematic elements into a series of varying relations which operate at different levels of abstraction; from interactions between principles of flow and constraint, through the construction of characters' honour, virtue, or reputation, to

Antony And Cleopatra Essay

1359 words - 5 pages through the control of others is Powerplay at its simplest. Power, moreover, is largely seen to be transient, and not everlasting, rather, a temporary source of greatness and dominance. Although power has many sources, it evidently manifests itself most vibrantly and vividly in human relationships, that is, through people, events and personalities. This is ultimately seen in the Shakespearean drama tragedy, “Antony and Cleopatra”, the film