Themes, Symbolism and Devices in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra and Coriolanus

1. Introduction

Shakespeare used Marc Antony and Coriolanus as the main and relative objects of comparativeness in his two plays “Antony and Cleopatra” and “Coriolanus”. Through them, he presented different aspects of life, death, love, misfortune, tragedy, honor etc. Some critics say that these two characters are the mainstay of Shakespeare’s tragedies because they are not only similar to each other in their heroic qualities but also in their tragic flaws. In this essay we will discuss the major themes, symbols and devices used in these two plays and how they relate to each other. We will also discuss the setting and the main characters of the plays.

2. Themes, Symbolism and Devices

2.1. Love and death

The theme of love and death is one of the most important themes in Shakespeare’s plays. It is also one of the most common themes in his tragedies. In “Antony and Cleopatra”, the theme of love and death is explored through the relationship between Antony and Cleopatra. Antony is a Roman general who is married to Octavia, sister of Octavius Caesar. However, he falls in love with Cleopatra, queen of Egypt. This love affair leads to his downfall and eventually to his death. In “Coriolanus”, the theme of love and death is explored through the relationship between Coriolanus and Volumnia. Coriolanus is a Roman general who is exiled from Rome after he goes against the wishes of the people. He then goes to join forces with Aufidius, leader of the Volscians. However, he is eventually killed by Aufidius. The theme of love and death is also explored through the relationship between Aufidius and Coriolanus. Aufidius loves Coriolanus but he also hates him because he is a Roman.

2. 2. Triumvirate

The triumvirate is another important theme in Shakespeare’s plays. It is a political arrangement in which three people share power over a state or country. In “Antony and Cleopatra”, the triumvirate refers to the ruling government of Rome which consists of Octavius Caesar, Marcus Lepidus and Marc Antony. In “Coriolanus”, the triumvirate refers to the ruling government of Rome which consists of Menenius Agrippa, Cominiusand Titus Lartius. Both these governments are eventually overthrown by their respective opponents (Octavian in “Antony and Cleopatra” and Coriolanus in “Coriolanus”).

2. 3 Misfortune

Misfortune is another important theme in Shakespeare’s plays. It is often associated with tragedy or with characters who are flawed in some way. In “Antony and Cleopatra”, misfortune befalls Antony when he loses his battle against Octavian at Actium. This leads to his suicide along with that of Cleopatra’s suicide. In “Coriolanus”, misfortune befalls Coriolanus when he goes against the wishes of the people of Rome and is subsequently exiled from Rome. This leads to his joining forces with the Volscians and eventually to his death.

FAQ

The two plays differ in their portrayal of Antony and Cleopatra in a few ways. In "Antony and Cleopatra," Shakespeare portrays Antony as a great military leader who is torn between his love for Cleopatra and his duty to Rome. In "Cleopatra," Antony is shown to be more weak-willed and easily manipulated by Cleopatra. He is also less successful as a military leader, which leads to his downfall.

The main similarities between the two plays are that they both focus on the relationship between Antony and Cleopatra, and they both end with Antony's death.

Shakespeare uses language to convey the emotions of his characters in each play by having them speak in poetic verse. This allows the audience to see how passionately they feel for each other, even though it ultimately leads to their downfall.

The significance of setting in each play is that it helps to create an atmosphere of luxury and excess, which mirrors the lifestyle of Antony and Cleopatra. In "Antony and Cleopatra," the setting also serves to contrast the couple's decadent lifestyle with the more austere Roman values represented by Octavius Caesar.

Over the course of each play, Antony and Cleopatra's relationship goes through ups and downs depending on their respective successes or failures militarily and politically. However, their love for each other remains constant throughout both plays.

Neither play presents a more sympathetic view of its title character than the other; instead, they both show how complex these historical figures were as people.

Some of the themes explored in each play include love, betrayal, ambition, power, duty vs desire, East vs West, etcetera . These themes contribute to our understanding of Antony and Cleopatra as individuals because they help to explain why they made some of the choices that led to their eventual downfall .