Essay about Antony and Cleopatra and The Aeneid

1870 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
…show more content…
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 events of the Second Triumvirate and ends when Octavian defeats Antony and becomes the sole ruler. (Although Shakespeare uses historical names and events, the minute details and specific conversations between the characters in the play are fictitious.) Four years after the events included in Antony and Cleopatra, Octavian assumed the title Augustus. Virgil
Open Document