Power plays essentially comprise all levels of human interaction, from the totalitarian political world, to the private world of personal relationships. Through Antony and Cleopatra, Shakespeare demonstrates the interplay of self-centered manipulation amongst the Triumvirate, intertwined with Cleopatra’s vicious, manipulating sexual power play, which controls and distracts Antony from his desires, in term disintegrating his military prowess. Similarly The Hunger Games, directed by Gary Ross satirizes the superficial nature of the Capitol’s moral values, as well as the sexualized fabrication associated with popularity, shown through Katniss Everdeen and her fellow tributes. Through utilizing a variety of sophisticated cinematic and literary techniques, these texts raise contrasting representations about the nature of power-plays.
The sexualization of individuals is essentially a tool of accumulating attentiveness. Through sexually “publicizing” oneself, a more accessible and admirable image materializes, which in term serves as a way of appealing to a far greater audience. Both composers delve into this ideal by associating the sexual dexterity of both protagonists, as tools of both personal and institutional marketability. Antony and Cleopatra’s interaction can only be considered as a sort of decadent lust-power relationship. Their attraction for each other centers around infatuation and a sort of egoistic vanity, that they are more important than their environment. Act 2 Scene 3 directly adheres to the extent of Cleopatra’s ability to seduce individuals both psychologically and aesthetically, seen within the quote, “Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale, her infinite variety. Other women cloy” This passage paints a very vivid image of the Egyptian queen, Cleopatra via the utilization of hyperbolic imagery and exaggerated emotive language. The excited and eager tone of Enobarbus reveals his comfortability in describing his antics in Egypt and the beauty of its “enchanting queen”, who’s sexuality is even further stressed in the following Act when Enobaubarus’ states that, “she did make defect perfection”, which clothes seemingly nonsense content, in a seemingly plausible manner. Shedding light to how the sexualization of women prevails as a form of exerting influence and being embraced socially. Likewise, Ross displays this theme of sexualized conformity, through the fabricated nature of the Capitol and the embellished analogical comparisons to modern society. The Capitol’s materialized nature is exposed through it’s connotations to being a “pageant”, which are events typically associated with excessive vanity and egocentricity. Satirically mocking the value of painting sexualized appearances to create more profitable social-reputations. This notion is further conceded through the references to “the star-crossed lovers of District 12”, which paints Peeta and Katniss as an “item” of admiration, sarcastically contextualizing them as contemporary versions of Shakespeares’ “Romeo and Juliet”. Throughout both texts, their respective composers demonstrate the conscious role of sexuality as a tool of provocation and marketability, which in term reflects the misuse of power and furthers