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Working Thesis Statement: Despite the rising sentiments of increased individual liberties during the Renaissance, Shakespeare argues through his Roman plays "Julius Caesar" and "Antony and Cleopatra" that more successful governments have power consolidated in one person, regardless of that individual's personal temperament and values.
Shuttleworth, Ian. "Antony and Cleopatra, Shakespeare's Globe, London - review," Financial Times, 1 June 2014. <https://www.ft.com/content/560e8458-e7e2-11e3-b923-00144feabdc0>
This review claims that Antony and Cleopatra were by far the most compelling characters on stage, and that Octavius is played as petulant and jealous of Antony's charisma and power.
This performance seems to emphasize that Octavius did not "deserve" to win over Antony and Cleopatra, but simply made the right moves at the right times; this fits in with my idea that Shakespeare is not fussed about the personal characteristics of a leader, but believes that one leader is better than many, no matter what the personal qualities.
Sayed Yossef. "William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar BBC." Youtube, Aug 24, 2016.
This was a 1978 BBC version of Julius Caesar, that portrayed Caesar as very old, and a weak ruler.
This version shows the cracks that are already beginning to form between Antony and Octavius at the end, hinting about what will happen in "Antony and Cleopatra"; though Caesar isn't shown to be a great ruler anymore, he is still preferable to the new rulers who can't go a few days without starting to fight.
homie: Mckenzie Mcdougall.
Mckenzie is a political science major here at BYU and is my roommate; she is good at analysis and has a lot of thoughts about books we've both read, so I thought I'd ask her.
Mckenzie thought that Antony was portrayed as a weak character at the end, since he committed suicide; he was not in the end capable of being a leader.
Peer: Annie Wesolek
Annie is an acquaintance that I happened across who has studied a great deal of Shakespeare.
Annie believes that Julius Caesar was meant to be a strong leader, and the audience is intended to mourn him; though he had his flaws, she argues that he was ultimately a good ruler and healthy for Rome, since all was peaceful and safe during his reign.
This blog has several mentions of Julius Caesar, focusing on the political intrigue within the play.
I messaged this person, asking his/her opinion on Julius Caesar as a ruler and whether Brutus's betrayal was justified, and when I get an answer I'll put that in.
Expert: Alfred J Drake, PhD
Dr. Drake has written a dissertation on Julius Caesar, and has studied extensively both the man and the play.
I emailed Dr. Drake and asked him whether he thought Antony and Octavius's relationship was doomed to failure based totally off the play Julius Caesar - no answer yet.