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Compare and Contrast Plutarch and Octavian Essay

Compare and contrast the ways in which the passage below attempts to discredit Anthony with the ways this is done in the speech attributed to Octavian by cassias die * Before I start to answer the question above, we need to study the background of the individuals involved. * Cleopatra was a very complicated character… she had volatile and tempestuous relationships with both mark Anthony and Julius Caesar , which eventually led to the deaths of Cleopatra and mark Anthony by suicide. * She was a very beautiful woman who possessed a great strength of character. Men were afraid of her but also were seduced by her. Here was a woman who wasn’t afraid of using her sexuality to achieve what she wanted. Egypt under her reign was seen by Rome to be a * Wanton hedonistic society whose people were only interested in the pleasures of the flesh instead of fighting and showing pride in their country… Julius Caesar was disgusted by their lavish displays of wealth and lack of personal control. * He held Cleopatra responsible for her fellow countrymen behaviour. And it was because of his feelings Octavian delivered this speech to his army, before the battle of Actium. * Plutarch on the other hand is the principal source for the events surrounding Anthony, Cleopatra and Octavian, without his written history about Cleopatra, we in our modern world would know very little about her. The Egyptians’ were very bad at recording their history which is in complete contrast to the romans who hired scribes to write everything about them and their history? * It is noted that Plutarch’s work may only be partly true because his knowledge came by word of mouth and probably got messed around with the passing of time .as we will see in the next section of this essay both men had two very different points of view. *

Let us examine Octavian’s speech in more detail. During this period in roman history one’s reputation was very important. Octavian played one very important card, by presenting Mark Anthony as a shadow of his former self. He was bewitched by Cleopatra and enjoyed living a life full of decadence and pleasure even joining Cleopatra in fighting his own fellow kinsmen. All this self-indulgence had made him effeminate and soft, no longer a warrior but a man who had become a lover and a dancer instead. Egyptians were also thought to worship false gods and beasts and reptiles. They also practiced the unusual practice of embalming their dead with the hope that they would become immortal. Thus to sum up Octavian felt Mark Anthony was beyond help and was a disgrace. And little more than a heathen.. Moving on 150 years the book Plutarch’s life of anatomy was written. All his information came through reading ancient texts and by word of mouth. His work was not designed to be a full history on the roman Egyptian wars and disputes. He He comes from a slightly different angle putting forward the idea that Cleopatra bewitched Mark Anthony. Leaving him helpless to think for himself. He is depicted as a man who has lost his mental faculties and with them all sense of responsibility. Plutarch presents Cleopatra as a sly cunning manipulator who out manoeuvred Mark Anthony and other men. Coming from the cold roman society which didn’t value romantic love Anthony became totally infatuated by her. And ultimately was destroyed. If we compare both view it is very clear , that even though both men agree that Anthony was destroyed by Cleopatra, they have different views as to what happened .Octavian blame’s Anthony for being a wimp and a spoilt man who left the roman empire of his own violation to join Cleopatra. On the other side Plutarch feels that it wasn’t Anthony’s fault. Instead he was be witched and ultimately it cost him his life The only part of their story that both men seem to show a grudging respect for Cleopatra , was when she took an asp[ and bravely committed suicide, she was too proud to be paraded through the s treets of Rome like a common criminal so ended her life by her own hand

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