Relationships at all levels involve complex Powerplay. ‘ How is this complexity represented in the texts you have studied? Base your answer on the prescribed text and other texts of your own choosing. Relationships at all levels involve complex powerplay. In the various texts studied, this complexity is represented through the characters and their relationships and interactions with one another. This essay will attempt to prove this idea and the form of its representation in relation to the play, Julius Caesar, the documentary Men of Our Time: Hitler and the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.
In Julius Caesar, it is seen that power is a valued intangible to many of the protagonists. We view individuals and groups struggling for predominance, control, power and ascendancy and as this historical drama unfolds we observe the betrayal of friends, conspirators, peers and ideals. There is no doubt that in most of the relationships within the play, there is a high degree of complex powerplay. The relationship between Cassius and Caesar is no doubt dominated by power. Cassius’ reason for trying to kill Caesar is that he does not want Caesar to hold such high levels of power and control.
Similarly, Brutus’ relationship with Caesar, although they are good friends, also involves powerplay. Brutus too fears the potential in Caesar to become a tyrant, as his soliloquy in Act II, scene one shows. He sees Caesar like a serpent’s egg, bound to inflict injury if it is allowed to hatch, “And kill him in the shell. ” After the death of Caesar the struggle for power does not stop and in Act IV, scene one there is a clear illustration of the complex powerplay involved in human relationships.
Antony, whom we previously see appealing to the people of Rome, now callously places marks against names to signify those condemned to die, “He shall not live”. He agrees to the death of his nephew and he suggests watering down the legacies in Caesar’s will. The only reason Cassius develops a closer friendship with Brutus is again political. Cassius knew of Brutus’ patriotism and idealism and thus he seduces the honourable Brutus to reach his own political goal of ridding Caesar of power.
The assassination of Caesar shows us another angle of powerplay: that those who achieve greatness become the target of those who are incapable of emulating their achievements. We also observe that the relationship of the citizens or ‘mob’ with each character that comes in power involves powerplay. Caesar, Brutus and Antony are all acutely aware that their political intentions can only be fulfilled with the approval of the populace. Whether you are a man of integrity or a manipulator, power can only be acquired and retained if the people permit it.
The only reason these characters treat the crowd as they do is to get their support and rule over them. The complexity of the powerplay in relationships, by being represented through the characters the play, portrays powerplay as being very dangerous. This is in fact where the complexity of it lies – humans struggle for power, which is such a dangerous thing. Its dangers are more easily seen when we take a holistic overall look at the play and the fate of many of the characters. The result of all the powerplay is namely murder, treason, suicide and corruption.
Caesar, most concisely, represents the dangers of leadership. Here is a great man, a courageous man, a proud warrior and a cunning politician. Yet he is vulnerable to the seductive nature of power. His ambition leads to his destruction. Perhaps this is a warning about the nature of leadership, that trust is a dangerous commodity in public life. The nature of charismatic leadership is that those who inspire also create powerful enemies. The documentary Men of Our Time: Hitler, exemplifies how human relationships are influenced by power.
Hitler intended to have complete power and absolute control, to be master of Europe whilst his opposition Winston Churchill wanted to rid Hitler of any form of power whatsoever, ” Nothing is more certain than that every trace of Hitler’s footsteps… will be expunged and purged… blasted from the earth. ” Their relationship definitely involved complex powerplay. Hitler’s relationship with the German people certainly involved powerplay. He needed their support to achieve power, which he wanted merely for the sake of power.
His success in winning the public’s support was based on fraud, force, propaganda and hypnotising. He used the people to fulfill his own lusts for power and control. The complexity is of powerplay is revealed in the character of Hitler. He loved power for the sake of power, for his own sake and he had no ideals behind this. Yet in his quest for power, he went as far as a World War, which took the lives of thirty million people. This is a great yet saddening indictment on the nature of powerplay – it is so destructive yet the reasons for its existence are more often than not so insignificant.
In the novel Nineteen-Eighty Four, again shows that human relationships involve powerplay. The Inner Party applies the principle of divide and rule. Hence no relationships or loyalties are allowed to exist in Outer Party members “there will be no loyalties, except loyalty towards the Party. ” This is also the reason of discouraging love and sexual relationships. The energy involved in a sexual act is redirected towards efforts beneficial to the Party. We see that the lives of Outer Party members are totally control and the reason being for the Inner Party members to maintain their power as well as to exercise it.
The Party exerts its totalitarian political power not for any greater good, but as an end in itself, as we saw the case of Hitler. O’Brien tells Winston ” The object of power is power. ” The Party ‘are interested solely in power’, and their power is found “in inflicting pain and humiliation… in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again”. The relationship of the protagonist, Winston, with the state is again one of powerplay. By the conclusion, we realise that Winston, the incipient rebel who appears to have been thinking and acting independently, has in fact not been.
Like many others, he was made a thought-criminal. He is used as a mere commodity. The purpose of these criminals is merely to satisfy the Party’s lust for power. In conclusion, relationships at all level do involve complex powerplay. In Julius Caesar, Men of Our Time: Hitler and Nineteen Eighty-Four this complexity is delivered through the characters, their actions and their interactions with each other. Power is also shown as a potentially destructive device.