Are you the bit on the side in a relationship – parallel to Shakespeare’s Anthony and Cleopatra?


The master writer William Shakespeare created one of the famous love couples of all time – Romeo and Juliet. However, I recently watched a play at the Barbican in London where the focus was on the relationship between Mark Anthony, a ruler from the Roman Empire, and Cleopatra, a queen of Egypt.

Cleopatra’s relationship was one where she was not his number one in title but Anthony’s mistress. Throughout the show, it seemed Cleopatra liked the competitiveness of seeing if she could be his number one – constantly comparing herself to his wife but thinking she was overall better than her💅.

Anthony married again after his first wife died to show a respect for a fellow ruler (as there were three at the time in Rome) instead of a passion and desire 💟 like he had for Cleopatra it seemed.

And with relationships, betrayal and misleading support can sometimes present themselves. Themes that occur through the play and questions arose of these mistakes that we can all make.

Packed full of cheesy jokes and over-exaggerating expressions to keep you entertained throughout the production, I would recommend reading through the play first to get more of a feel of what the show is about, unless you are fluent in Shakespearean which I am not even though I did study some of his work in the past 🤓


It’s strange how Cleopatra is what I am calling Anthony’s ‘bit on the side’ as he had wives throughout his liaisons with her. Looking back though, it seemed she was the one who liked playing the games and he was more in love with her than she was him. Though I have also seen this type of relationship through a friend’s workmate’s eyes when she said she had been the other woman and she regrets ever delving into a relationship like that. Her feeling like a loser, when he had the fun but would never carry out the commitment to her.

I guess sometimes you go into a relationship and not really want to be in it but for whatever reasons;  you stay there – I think as both parties knew what they were doing they knew the consequences. It was just whether Anthony’s wives knew and how they would have felt about their relationship that is intriguing. If you were the married man or woman and knew your partner had a lover, how would you feel? Or maybe you’ve even been through it?

Image result for barbican theatre logo

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