By Exploring the Presentation of Octavius in Antony and Cleopatra, Evaluate the View That ‘Octavius Makes Political Success Seem Very Unattractive’ Essay

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By exploring the presentation of Octavius in Antony and Cleopatra, evaluate the view that ‘Octavius makes political success seem very unattractive’ Despite a high degree of success achieved by the character of Octavius Caesar, we see to a large extent the political success and emergence of Caesar as the sole ruler of Rome appears mostly unattractive in the eyes of a Victorian audience. This unattractiveness is achieved through the pragmatic ruthlessness of Caesars character along with his lack of compassion and his ability to mistreat those very close to him. The most notable of these character traits in portraying political success as unattractive is Caesars mistreatment of other characters. This trait is significant in Caesars relationship with his sister Octavia. Essentially we see the use of Octavia by Caesar as a political tool from which Caesar is able to create a ‘win win’ situation for himself. We can assume Caesar is well aware of the fact Antony would despite a marriage with Octavia, run back to Cleopatra hence it becomes very clear that Caesar saw the opportunity to form a marriage alliance with Antony and his sister as if Antony was to stay faithful to her, Caesar would gain an extremely powerful alliance and if he were to betray Octavia, there would be a viable reason for Caesar to declare war with Antony and essentially gain power by removing Antony from the Triumvirate. We see this as an explicit example of Caesars lack of compassion for his close family and friends but also a sign of his ruthlessness. Caesar claims Octavia is “abused beyond the mark of thought” however to some degree we can blame Caesar for this abuse and henceforth deem Caesar’s desire for power as the source of Octavia’s suffering. Gordon Ross expands on this idea in ‘The Melting of Authority in Antony and Cleopatra’ where he states Caesar “Ruthlessly pursues power, even to the

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