William Shakespeare 's Power Of Power

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What does it take to stay in power in Ancient Rome? Power is inequitably distributed between those who rule and those who are subjects. However, one individual controlling many citizens is a tenuous circumstance. Controlled chaos, hyperbolized real-life theater, maintains the power of leaders by promoting a sense of fear, unpredictability and helplessness amongst constituents. Many Roman leaders perceive their hold on power to be tenuous at best, and this insecurity also drives rash actions. On the other hand, powerful leaders rely on certain structures that serve their power. Indeed, these structures also support the illusion and confusion. This tension, between the unordered and ordered demonstrates the psychotic and ruinous character of…show more content…
Tacitus notes, “These and the like sentiments suited the people, who craved amusement, and feared, always their chief anxiety, scarcity of corn, should he be absent” (Annals, 15.36). Just as many of Trimalchio’s guests are dependent on his food, many laypeople in Rome are dependent on Nero’s handouts, giving him absolute control over their psyche. Nero finds what people need and then seeks to control that need for his own benefit. To build his own house he exerts tremendous control by taking away something that matters to the populace. Seutonius writes, “He also coveted the sites of several granaries, solidly built in stone...having knocked down their walls with siege engines, he set the interiors ablaze.” (Seutonius, Book VI, p. 38). Nero is blatantly aware that these citizens need grain, but his needs trump theirs and also his exercise of power makes him stronger in this instance. Along with this notion of control and psychological power, Nero also introduces an element of unpredictability to prey on his populace further. Tacitus writes of the great fire, “A disaster followed, whether accidental or treacherously contrived by the emperor, is uncertain, as authors have given both accounts, worse, however, and more dreadful than any which have ever happened to this city by the violence of fire” (Annals, 15.38). That writers allude to Nero’s possible
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