Role of Octavia in 'Antony and Cleopatra'

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Octavia is essentially caught in the middle of a political power struggle between Antony, her husband, and Caesar, her husband. She is a sympathetic character, though the audience mostly hears of her through descriptions by other characters. She goes from her husband in Athens to try to reach some sort of truce with her brother, and not only fails, but discovers that her husband has run away to Egypt and is with Cleopatra. One of the more interesting passages in the play is when Cleopatra rewards the messenger who described Octavia (who is, after all, her lover's wife) in terms the queen wanted to hear, saying that Octavia was "low-voiced," and not as tall as Cleopatra. Beyond this, however, Octavia is not discussed much in the play. She is one of many people caught up in a power struggle within the Empire. 




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