Sunday, October 24, 2004

Notes on Homosocial Relationships Within Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra

  • Homosocial bonds consist of the relationship between two men, which is mediated by a female character. The rivalry between Mark Antony and Caesar is mediated by Octavia, who is Antony's recent wife and Caesar's sister.

Caesar----(siblings)----Octavia----(mariage)----Antony

  • Octavia, in her bond between Caesar and Antony, serves as a sort of object/commodity. She simultaneously embodies a bridge between the two triumvirs and a truce agreement.
  • Octavia's role in uniting Antony and Caesar through her marriage to the third triumvir creates an example of the role of women in this play as an object to be passed between the two triumvir men.
  • The rivalry between Antony and Caesar is so strong and charged that the tension is almost homoerotic
  • Homosocial bonds within Shakespeare's plays often bear a wide range, with characters at both extremes on the spectrum--

homosocial rivalry-------------------------homoerotic love

Homosocial bonds attempt to capture this wide range, as do the bonds between the rival triumvirs Octavius Caesar and Mark Antony.

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