Explore Shakespeare's Presentation of the Three Great Leaders: Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra, Through the Changing Fortunes of Acts Iii and Iv. Explain How the Balance of Audience Sympathy Shifts

1721 WordsDec 10, 20077 Pages
During the scenes depicting the Battle of Actium, Shakespeare's presentation of Octavius Caesar, Mark Antony and Cleopatra cause the balance of audience sympathy to change between the three great leaders. Audience sympathy never lies by any real amount with Caesar, and in Acts III and IV, the audience feels increasingly alienated from him. This is largely due to his calculated, ruthless style of leadership, which becomes more evident during the battle. Caesar judges wisely, and is successful because of this, and by Act III, Scene 7 he has already defeated Toryne – previously one of Antony's territories. In Act III, Scene 12, Shakespeare presents Caesar as a callous and cruel leader, as he hears the requests of Antony for peace and…show more content…
Also, though unwisely, Antony suggests a feast for their "comfort", and this summarises his leadership, as he is no longer presented by Shakespeare as a great and powerful leader, but as a kind and generous man. Caesar appears to be a heartless leader, detached from the people, whereas Antony shows his emotions and, thus, appears more human, which causes the audience to sympathise with him. In Act IV, Scenes 5 and 8, Shakespeare presents Antony as a great leader once again, as he defeats Caesar's land army, winning an unexpected victory and causing the audience to venerate him once more, instead of feeling pity for his predicament. However, this triumph is short-lived, and in Act IV, Scene 12, Antony's navy surrenders to Caesar without a fight, deserting Antony, leaving him feeling betrayed, and, once again, the audience sympathy shifts even further towards Antony. Cleopatra develops as a character during this sequence, becoming more sensible and less melodramatic in response to trivial problems. In Act III, Scene 7, Enobarbus tells Cleopatra not to be involved in the battle itself, saying that: "If we

    More about Explore Shakespeare's Presentation of the Three Great Leaders: Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra, Through the Changing Fortunes of Acts Iii and Iv. Explain How the Balance of Audience Sympathy Shifts

      Open Document