Shakespeare mentions three rulers, pertaining to the Roman Empire. He focuses on a specific ruler, Marc Antony, and his struggle for power and love. He begins to manage an affair with Egypt’s beautiful queen, Cleopatra, even after his wife Fulvia passes away. Antony is strictly condemned by the other rulers, especially by Cesar, for his lack of leadership as he has chosen to be accompanying the queen in Egypt, rather than completing his duty as a leader. After Fulvia is dead, Antony feels compelled to return from Egypt to Rome.
To make an alliance between Antony himself, and Caesar, to defeat Pompey, one of the leaders, Antony decides to temporarily forget about Cleopatra in Egypt, and marry Cesar’s sister, Octavia.
.In the midst of the alliances and defeatments, Cleopatra learns of Antony’s marriage and demands to know everything about it. She doesn’t believe that she has lost Antony, because she knows she can get him back. In the midst of this, Antony and his wife Octavia part ways, and as they do so, Cesar begins to wage war.
Antony and Cesar almost begin to get into a quarrel, and Octavia finds it difficult to choose sides. Antony chooses to fight Cesar at sea. Cleopatra decides to come into the matter with her ship, but as soon as she is there and flees, Antony becomes distracted and begins to follow her leaving everyone he came with, behind. Antony blames Cleopatra for distracting him, but they quickly get along again, and they try to make a deal where Antony may live in Egypt with her, and where she may inherit the kingdom to herself.
During this time, Antony experiences a victory that he was not expecting and celebrates with Cleopatra. As Antony goes to fight Cesar again at sea, Cleopatra abandons Antony. In the end, Antony wants to end Cleopatra’s life, so she lies that she died, and he follows to die with her, and in the end, both die because of the vast love they had for one another. In this play, Shakespeare depicts a picture of a strong ruler who loses himself, and his power over a relentless love that he has for a woman. He depicts this by showing the endless struggles Antony went through, trying to choose between love and choosing to become a powerful, successful leader. A lot of people in our society today face the problem of having to balance between their work life, and their private life, just as Antony struggled with the strong desire of having a woman, but also, being a great and vast leader in the battle. In this play, Shakespeare entails a storyline that can relate to what our world is facing today.
He highlights the main focus of the play on the lives of Antony and Cleopatra, and how their relationship and feelings for one another are drastically ruining their lives as leaders. This not only affects their jobs to maintain countries, and fight battles, but it interferes with their private lives. Antony left all that was important pertaining to the battlefield, and to his private life, with his wife, to seek after a woman that he loved, his weakness. This can relate to anyone who puts something above other important things in life. There are plenty of things in life we must learn to sacrifice for the good of our sake. For example, I had a friend who fell in love with a girl from our school. He was the president of a club, and he was valedictorian. Due to the ongoing distractions, and weakness he had for this girl, he decided he wanted to quit being president of the club. He wanted to lose a high position for a girl he was falling in love with.
This was drastically pulling him away from his personal life, from his work, and from trying to achieve his goals. Soon enough, he began slacking on his work and started to fall behind in school. He could no longer balance his life as a successful student with the life that he was chasing after a girl he loved. These interferences with someone’s personal life, and work life, are destructive forces that tend to make one life stronger than the other. It is important to be able to choose what are the most important things in life, and to make sure those are successfully completed before we move on to other properties. Antony should have balanced out his role as a leader, and the love he had for Cleopatra. He chose the love to overpower his ability to fight in the battle with Cesar, and be a successful throughout the play; although at the end, he realizes how disloyal he was to himself, and to the rulers he was siding with in battle. He felt that he had belittled himself by making such poor decisions throughout his life with following his passion for Cleopatra, after his wife had passed away. Antony struggled to be a fearful leader, as he put other priorities first.
In the midst of the struggles that Antony faced, he did prove his loyalty to Cesar by marrying Cesar’s sister, Octavia. Although he had a strong passion for Cleopatra, and deeply loved her, he woke up to this senses, and realized if he married Octavia, he would be away from all the distractions and stick with all the major responsibilities he had to take care of on the battlefield. Although he married Octavia for reasons other than love, he still couldn’t hold back from the decision of whether to move to Egypt and be with Cleopatra or stay on the battlefield as it was his duty. Antony struggled mentally about what he wanted in his life, and what he knew was the right thing to do. This is similar to the story of Jonah written in the Bible. God tells Jonah to go to Nineveh, and witness to the wicked people living there. Jonah had other priorities in his life, and although he knew it was the right thing for him to go to Nineveh, he refused to listen and eventually got swallowed by a whale.
The properties he chose weren’t as important as what God called him to do, therefore he faced big consequences. He eventually realized how disloyal he was to his God and ended up doing the right thing by going to witness to the people of Nineveh. Although Antony married Octavia to stick to his responsibilities, he lost the battle at sea with Cesar because he was still struggling with his passion for Cleopatra. He lost many of his followers because of this, as he realized that his stance as a leader in Rome was slowly but surely fading. This is the major point in the play where Antony knows that what he is doing isn’t the right thing, but he still continues to do it, showing a weakness between two worlds in his life. Not only did Antony struggle with his passions for Cleopatra, but Cleopatra struggled with her leadership position as well, knowing her love for Antony would only make her weaker.
Both Antony and Cleopatra made weak decisions, lowering their stance in leadership, and making their personal lives much harder to cope with. In conclusion, Shakespeare does indeed paint a fair and accurate picture of how people in our world choose to live their lives. He shows the lives that Antony and Cleopatra chose to live, and how they set their responsibilities aside for their feelings. They both knew what the right thing to do was, but they were both committed to their love for one another. Although Antony married Octavia in order to stick to his duties, he did not seem committed to going to battle with Cesar and winning, because Cleopatra was still on his mind, and he left all his responsibilities to join the woman he loved. Many people in our society today put their important responsibilities aside for other things that they might regret doing later on in their life. It is necessary to make sure important responsibilities are done successfully before anything else comes into place.