Dr. D. Horner
March 16, 2015
2,000 Years of Scandal
Morals today are in such a state that it is hard to imagine any other people in our world’s history struggling with ethical dilemmas in the same way we are today. Nathaniel Hawthorne, in what is considered by many to be his literary masterpiece touched upon issues that are as important today as they were in the middle of the 19th century. In The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne deals with issues of sin, guilt, and the inequality of men over women. Adultery in our world has had a far reaching impact on the lives of those affected, and in some cases, has even had a major impact on global boundaries. This paper will touch upon perhaps the most famous case of adultery the world has known; Marc Antony and Cleopatra. Then touch upon how this sin has personally touched me, and finally how Hawthorne portrays the issue of infidelity and its effects on the heroine, Hester Prynne.
The story of Antony and Cleopatra personifies lovers who literally gave up everything for love. Cleopatra was the famous 1st century queen of Egypt. A determined woman, she reportedly had a charming personality that most people found fascinating, therefore “she was able to become the mistress of Julius Caesar, king of Rome” (Cleopatra of Egypt).
In approximately 44 B.C., Caesar was assassinated and “three men uneasily joined forces to rule Rome: Gaius Octavian, Caesar's grandnephew; Marcus Lepidus, an army general; and Mark Antony, a Roman politician and general” (World Biography). Hart 2
Antony had earlier invited Cleopatra to visit Rome in 41 B.C., looking to forge a union with Egypt. Eventually Antony married Octavian's sister in an attempt to secure his power, while at the same time keeping the peace, forgoing his true love, Cleopatra.
Cleopatra’s heart was truly racing with joy when she learned that the man she loved, as well as someone who could do so much for her own political career, Antony, was finally returning. Hopefully, Antony would finally leave his wife, so the two could be together always. Regardless of what the other political leaders in the area thought, she would not live without Antony by her side.
During Antony's “last battle against Octavian and his forces, he was told Cleopatra had committed suicide” (World Biography). Heartbroken, Antony killed himself with his own sword. Cleopatra was actually alive, and was then taken prisoner. “Legend says she somehow got a poisonous snake into her cell, and then let it strike and kill her” (Bio.com). While the legend has never been proven, the two were, eventually buried next to each other.
Antony’s betrayal of his wife with Cleopatra brought to mind the betrayal of my mom by my dad a long time ago, but something I remember like it was just last night. I remember asking mom when dad was coming home when I was eight years old. Eight year olds need their dad and I clearly remember how important it was that I tell him that ‘Little League’ tryouts were coming up in a few days. My mom told me dad would not be home for a while, and in fact couldn’t really tell me when he would be back.
It was four long years until I finally realized why my dad only saw me on the all too rare weekends. It seemed that dad found someone else that he now loved, wanted to live with, and eventually have two more children with. Did that mean dad no longer loved my mom and me? The doubts, worries, and fears that began at age 10 or so haunt me to this day and I spend endless hours wondering and hoping that the acts of my father ends with him.