“As the President of My Kingdom”: The Practice of Power in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra


The plays composed by Shakespeare after 1603 notably incorporate the principles of the new Stuart ideology, which celebrated James I as an enlightened ruler invested directly by God of the mission to reunify the ancient kingdoms of Britain. In this respect, it is possible to read Antony and Cleopatra as a metaphor of contemporaneity: a representation of the Stuart court’s rituals, its policy and its language. This contribution aims to demonstrate how the characters of Octavius Caesar and Mark Antony mirror respectively the positive and negative qualities of the new English monarchy: the former embodies a model of conduct that a princeps must properly exhibit and translate into acts if he wants to state his authority. Conversely, the latter illustrates the harmful consequences that a leader can cause when he is more focused upon quenching his vicious pleasures than managing power.

Author Information
Valentina Rossi, eCampus University of Novedrate, Italy

Paper Information
Conference: BAMC2023
Stream: Literature

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon