In Julius Caesar’s will. his grand-nephew. Octavius. was named as his inheritor and adoptive boy. Octavius was related to Caesar through his gramps. who married a sister of the Roman dictator. As one of the three triumvirs. Octavius is the youngest and the most ambitious of the three. He began his calling with small — except the name of his grand-uncle Julius Caesar. his male parent by acceptance. and he of course wanted more — all that was possible. Having been named inheritor in Caesar’s will. Octavius comes to Rome to claim his luck. Nothing exists for immature Caesar except the individual end of geting and keeping power. As such. he is the antithesis of Antony. who becomes involved in a love matter that finally outweighs his ain pursuit for command of the universe. Because of the limited scope of Octavius’s vision and involvements. he frequently appears cold and ciphering. and many of his actions are so deliberate 1s. In engaging his darling sister to Antony. his long-time challenger. he shows that he is capable of puting political expedience above household trueness. Conversely. when Antony wantonnesss Octavia. Octavius acts like the indignant brother who wishes to revenge his sister’s award.
While his pride is intelligibly piqued. his choler besides intimations of self-interest. for here is the perfect stalking-horse for assailing his challenger. Octavius struggles for domination within the Triumvirate. but interestingly. his competition is merely with Antony. for neither he nor Antony considers Lepidus an equal. Throughout the play. neither Antony nor Octavius trusts the other. Nor does Octavius’s sister. Octavia. entirely trust Antony. She is good cognizant of his greater experience in conflict and statecraft. every bit good as his popularity with his soldiers and with the populace. compared to her brother’s rawness. Quite of course. Octavius is insecure about his ability to win in an sphere where Antony has been active for near to twenty old ages. But he additions assurance as he observes Antony’s dissipated life in Egypt. and he takes advantage of every state of affairs he can. Octavius has few devoted friends. and Shakespeare apparently uses him to exemplify the batch of the swayer who must give everything to remain in power. He trusts no 1. and he fears to allow himself be near to few. if any. of his work forces. His intervention of Lepidus is one illustration of how he can project aside presumed friends in order to accomplish even more power.
It is possible. of class. that Antony might hold treated Lepidus below the belt. but in fact. it was Octavius who imprisoned the 3rd member of the Triumvirate and confiscated his lands. Octavius. at times. seems about without rule. For illustration. one of Octavius’s closest friends. his officer Dolabella. sneakily helps Cleopatra by warning her that Octavius plans to take her to Rome in shame if she is captured. Cleopatra is therefore able to queer Octavius’s oblique strategies. She takes her ain life and therefore deprives him of exhibiting her through the streets of Rome in shame — all for the glorification of Octavius. the vanquisher. Basically. so. we can state that Octavius symbolizes the universe of power. political relations. and war. The Rome of this drama is the Rome of the declining Republic. It is a masculine. taciturn. and apparently pleasureless topographic point: appropriately. it is the place of Octavius’s kingdom. While Octavius’s character frequently seems pale in comparing with Shakespeare’s portrayals of Antony and Cleopatra. he is critical to the drama. for he functions both as Antony’s adversary and as his foil. Without the dour immature Octavius as a rival and as a contrast. Antony’s virtuousnesss. every bit good as his mistakes. would non be so vividly evident for the audience— or for Cleopatra. for that affair.
Antony. like Julius Caesar. is descended from an ancient Roman household. though recently the household has fallen into disfavour. Antony seems to hold been a instead worthless individual in his young person ; he liked to imbibe excessively much. and he tended to be a spend-all. He continued to exhibit these qualities for the remainder of his life. But he besides has a generous nature and a amiable personality. and finally he becomes a lieutenant to Julius Caesar in Gaul. His military personnels like him. and he is brave on the battleground. He becomes a main deputy to Caesar. and finally he is a spouse with him as consul in Rome. Antony makes his “second home” in the cryptic East. in Egypt. the civilisation of the Ptolemies. in the drama. Rome seems cold and Grey. whereas Alexandria plaies with heat and twinkles with colour and sensualness. Antony’s personality is much like the land where he makes his place in his in-between old ages. Anthony seems to hold acquired a new involvement in the pleasances of life because of his residing in Egypt and because of his love for Cleopatra. Finally. nevertheless. he becomes a really troubled adult male because he found himself torn between a desire to be with Cleopatra and an every bit strong desire to seek and keep power in Rome. His impulsiveness and his inability to do determinations make him appear weak. but he is non every bit weak as he appears. as the drama illustrates.
He is animal. but he is besides brave. and he withstands hardship good. He is insecure about his age. to some extent. for he worries about Cleopatra’s fidelity. since he is older than she is. But in malice of his insecurities. Antony more frequently than non is cocksure. He earnestly underestimates his vernal opposition. Octavius Caesar ; he believes that his ain huge experience and bravery on the field can do up for Octavius’s inexperient finding. He finds finally that they do non. Antony is eventually driven to do a pick between his commitment to Egypt and Cleopatra — or to Rome ; he must declare his commitment to one universe or the other. He can non hold both. and it becomes clear early in the drama that Rome’s jobs demand his full trueness. instead than half. Antony’s failure to see the nature of his job causes him to infinitely hover. avoiding get offing a concluding determination until it is excessively late. Much of Antony’s evident impulsiveness. first make up one’s minding to give up all for Cleopatra. so make up one’s minding to return to Rome. etc. . is a direct consequence of his basic implicit in indecisiveness. Because he can non come to a decision about what values take precedency in his life. he loses everything.
One of his first errors is allowing himself be drawn into the universe of Egypt and its delectations. He forgets that non all Romans conceive of Egypt as he does. He loses much popular support. due in big portion to Octavius Caesar’s unfavorable judgment ; therefore. finally. his devotedness to Cleopatra seems like disloyalty to Rome. Yet. despite all his errors. Antony is a epic figure. drawn larger than life by Shakespeare’s poesy. His ever-increasing indecisiveness is the mirror of his inner battle to happen a balance between two universes and two sets of values. If he fails. it isn’t because he doesn’t attempt to accomplish all that he can. His adventuresome attitude suggests that he attempts to enlarge his consciousness of what life can be. By contrast. Octavius is non epic merely because he ne’er inquiries his ideals nor profoundly weighs his truenesss. Audiences. readers. and critics have ever disagreed as to whether or non Antony made the right pick. Percepts of the significance of his actions will differ. but the terminal consequence is the same: Anthony and Cleopatra is a powerful drama because it has powerful characters who catch the imaginativeness and ne’er let go of it. They are lovers who are more mature than Romeo and Juliet and. for that ground. they are non easy forgotten.