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Friendship and power in Julius Caesar and in Antony and Cleopatra – author Ionela Iordan

“The present research paper analyzes the Shakespearean theatrical interpretation of the themes of friendship and power in the “Roman plays”, drawing on Roman history, Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra. The main method used in this research paper is the comparative one, analyzing the plays’ thematic contents from a contrastive perspective. Although these themes are common to both plays, characters act in different theatrical situations and, therefore, they are quite distinct in the two plays. Both Roman plays deals with the same historical personages in general, because Shakespeare drew on Plutarch and his presentation of the lives of the famous Roman figures.

Friendship and power are the two driving forces that account for the structure of the characters and the development of the plot in two of Shakespeare’s Roman plays, Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra. The two plays seem to illustrate, up to a certain extent, Cicero’s words “The shifts of Fortune test the reliability of friends” and Carl Jung’s statement that “Where love rules, there is no will to power; and where power predominates, there love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other.” A parallel can be drawn between the two plays in terms of these two driving forces. The friendship and idealism in Julius Caesar have as counterparts the love and power in Antony and Cleopatra. These two themes are further enclosed into a larger opposition, that between private loyalties and public loyalties.”

the author

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ISBN 978-606-8193-13-7