All representations are acts of manipulation
Power play is featured in human experience at all levels, from the public world of politics to the private world of personal relationships. Human nature often tries to wield power over others by interpreting events and skewing them so that they will have dominance over others. This tendency of humans to orchestrate the lives of others to suit their own intentions can be illustrated in Shakespeare’s tragedy ‘Antony and Cleopatra.’ Similarly in, Elizabeth (1998), Shekhar Kapur showcases, the triumphing rise of Elizabeth from her rotten beginnings to being one of England's most powerful monarchs, through use of various power play tactics.
In the Shakespearean tragedy Antony and Cleopatra, Cleopatra’s acts of manipulation are retained in her political autocracy by utilising her sexual power. She is portrayed as a powerful manipulator with animal imagery as she is referred to as “the serpent of old Nile” reinforcing her cunning ways. Her success at ‘conquering the conquerors’ and thus protecting her throne of Egypt is bitterly regarded in her degrading Roman image as “triple turned whore”. Cleopatra’s control over Antony is evident as she details, “I put my tires and mantles on him” and then “wore his sword Phillipan” symbolising the robbing of Antony’s masculinity at her hands. Antony’s intention to refuse calls of duty from Rome as he exclaims with grandiose imagery, “let Rome in Tiber melt and the wide arch of the reigned empire fall” further highlights the extent of Cleopatra’s sexual power over him. This power interferes with his political status in Rome, as Antony is turned from the metaphoric “triple pillar of the world” to a “strumpet’s fool”, indicating that Cleopatra’s sexual manipulation is also a political manoeuvre.
The various acts of manipulation in Antony and Cleopatra centres on the interplay of two different societies: the use of juxtaposition of scenes constantly throughout the play depicts the clash...