The Symbolic Significance of a Tragic Hero

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After the death of Antony, Cleopatra was left at the mercy of Caesar. Initially Cleopatra resisted to surrender to Caesar, but he leaves Cleopatra with no choice but to succumb to his demands after he says, If you apply yourself to our intents, Which towards you are most gentle, you shall find a benefit in this change. but if you seek to lay on me a cruelty, by taking Antony’s course, you shall bereave yourself (Antony and Cleopatra). A true hero fights to his utmost to retain his power until he is completely forced to give up, and in this case Cleopatra to some extentAntony’soject that quality. Cleopatra gave up all her wealth to Caesar, but later she was betrayed by her treasurer, who accused of her withholding her assets from Caesar. On Caesar’s inquiry Cleopatra confessed, Be it known, that we, the greatest, are for things that others do. and, when we fall, we answer others merits in our name, are therefore to be pitied (Antony and Cleopatra). Mentioning this incidence in his book Shakespeare the playwright, Victor L. Cahn, Professor of English at Skidmore College, quotes this speech as an impersonation of the true nature of a tragic hero, whose life affects many others under his rule and whose stature appears somewhat from the survival through pain and trials (236).Even after letting go of all her wealth, Cleopatra learns that Caesar intends to show her are his triumph parade as spoils. This scenario is explained by Courtni Crump Wright in her book, The women of Shakespeare’s plays. The author says that besides all her womanly love of Antony and misery as his death, Cleopatra is a proud ruler who even after being defeated refuses to be disgraced and paraded as a spoil of war (Wright 153).