English Terms Essays - Antony and Cleopatra

'Antony must maintain order to appreciate Cleopatra's idealisation, on emperor Antony (J. L Simmonds). ' Agree or disagree with this assertion that Cleopatra's love for Antony is very much related to the power he retains.

Shakespeare's 'Antony and Cleopatra' is a play worried about the discord between love and reason. Antony, the protagonist is a figure torn between his sense of responsibility as part of the triumvirate and his desire to get pleasure in the company of his better half, Cleopatra. Cleopatra has a great affect over Antony's decisions and consequent actions, often forcing him to betray his position as an honorable Roman hero. The energy that she retains over Antony's selections is visible throughout the play, with the 1st scene starting on the characters of Demetrius and Philo discussing the detrimental effects of Antony's dotage on the political situation of the Roman Empire. Cleopatra's love for Antony is obviously a powerful push, but how directly is the magnitude of her love related to the energy that he supports as a member of the triumvirate?

Historically, the play starts after the assassination of Julius Caesar that spurred on Marc Antony to get rid of Cassius and Brutus, an work which heralded him as a hero. Although it is clear that rumors are circulating when the play commences that Cleopatra is pulling Antony away from his obligations as a leader, he's still largely kept in high esteem by the majority of men and women in the Roman Empire. Even Octavius, who later goes to struggle against Antony, talks highly of him in regard to his heroic feats in the past. However, these heroic feats do seem to be firmly before - an integral part of Antony's character that is curbed by the passions and feminine wiles of Cleopatra. As a result, he's constantly in turmoil over his community and personal tasks. His need to be with Cleopatra frequently pushes him to dismiss his more tasks as a triumvir, 'Let Rome in Tiber melt, and the extensive arch / Of the ranged empire fall season (I. i. 35-36). Immediately after expressing such a blatant disregard for the future of the Roman Empire, Antony questions his loyalties and vows to face up to his responsibilities, a decision that involves distancing himself from Cleopatra, 'must from this enchanting queen break off' (I. ii. 117). Antony becomes trapped in this routine of conflict where Rome symbolizes his tasks as a Roman head and hero, and Alexandria his needs related to passions and pleasure. His activity between your two areas enhances this symbolism.

Although Cleopatradoes may actually returning Antony's love, she also displays qualities ofmanipulation and shows a theatrical aspect throughout the play thatperhaps advises other reasons for her partnership with Antony. Enobarbus, Antony's faithful follower, notices these characteristics in Antony's Egyptianwife and says that, 'her beauty is soincomparable, her charms so strong that the vilest things / Become themselvesin her, that the holy priests / Bless her when she actually is riggish [sluttish] (II. ii. 243-245). This suggests that she has a skill for changing the 'vilest things' intothings of beauty, as well as for subverting entire systems of morality so that evenpriests alter their views of what's holy or sinful. Cleopatra is one ofShakespeare's most powerful female character types and it appears only fitting thatshe should desire an similarly powerful husband. In many ways, on Cleopatra'spart, her relationship with Antony seems more of a politics alliance, withtheir intimacy always having public consequences outside of the private sphere. However, if Cleopatra seeks to better herself through Antony then it is unclearwhy she flees the battle of Actium, forcing him to check out her therefore concededefeat. On this and other events, Cleopatra's actions and thoughts havesuch an impact on his image as a powerful innovator that he betrays the medial side ofhim that was known as a noble hero; regrettably Antony realizes this a littletoo past due, EASILY lose my honor, / I lose myself. Better I weren't yours /Than yours so branchless (III. iv. 22-24). If Cleopatra loves Antony limited to the power he keeps then it appears strangethat she'd allow him to decline so far in position through his relationshipwith her.

Cleopatra appears to be essentially preoccupied with theatricality and the power of the spectacle, a preoccupation that is also showed by society all together at the moment. The energy of the spectacle has a great importance throughout the play which is illustrated when Octavius Caesar complains to his sister Octavia about her lack of it; he is convinced that as the better half of Antony she 'should own an army for an usher, and / The neighs of horses to describe her methodology / Long ere she do look' (III. vi. 43-46). However, Octavia occurs to see Antony with no show and spectacle whatsoever, providing us with a lady character who's the exact opposite of Cleopatra. Within the eye of Caesar the art of the spectacle is associated with power and therefore, the greater the screen, the bigger is the power that sits behind it, a notion that Cleopatra would evidently trust. On this play, Shakespeare is very much concerned with displays of love that are in the general public eye, a strategy that is different from his prior tragedy which focused much more on personal turmoil viewed through soliloquies. Because of this, Antony's reconciliation with Cleopatra takes place off stage and the relationships that we do see between your pair largely happen in the public eye as grand performances. It really is these spectacles that Cleopatra revels in, to the extent that her theatrical part even rears its mind when Antony is dying. Rather than hanging on her lover's every phrase, she merely attempts to steal the limelight that should be kept for his dying words, 'No, let me speak, and let me rail so high / That this false hussy Fortune break her steering wheel, / Provoked by my offence' (IV. xvi. 43-47).

Antonytakes his own life because he cannot carry the idea of being regarded as a failedleader and jilted lover. His identity is becoming far taken off the Antonythat slayed Cassius and Brutus and he's aware that this has occurred as adirect consequence of Cleopatra's affect. By killing himself he expects tomaintain his status and the value he previously received from people ofthe Roman Empire. In the same way Cleopatra needs to be appreciated on her behalf ownterms and decides to die rather than be paraded through the roadways as a whore, by order of Caesar. This illustrates that Cleopatra may have regarded Antony'sstatus an important factor in the love she sensed for him, as death only becomesa requirement on her behalf when Dolabella uncovers the destiny that Caesar has in storefor her, not when she discovers of Antony's fatality. Any earlier courting with theidea of loss of life can certainly be attributed to Cleopatra's theatrical behaviour andlove of spectacle - it is only when she perils being presented in a way that shedoes not wish to be ('I' th' posture of your whore' V. ii. 217), that she finallybecomes proactive and requires her own life. She loses all considered Antony inher goal to secure a kind of nobility worth a Roman hero, 'I ammarble-constant. Now the fleeting moon / No planet is of mine' (V. ii235-236). Like Antony, she aspires to sustain her vitality and in loss of life she is able to remainher truest & most uncompromised home.

Shakespeareportrays Cleopatra as a robust historical figure who's more than capable ofasserting herself. Having previously seduced the fantastic head, Julius Caesar, it is clear that Cleopatra is passionately drawn to evenly powerful men, andthe decrease with which she actually is ready to betray Antony suggests that real loveperhaps contains less significance for her, or at the very least, is extra toher search for partnering a powerful figure. Ladies in 'Antony and Cleopatra'are portrayed as extremely influential over the male gender. Shakespeare presentsthe audience with two very different influences that men in the play believewoman to possess. Firstly, you have the destructive influence viewed byCleopatra which leads to the hopeless downfall of men, and secondly, the greater positive, nurturing, mainly passive influence as illustrated by Octavia. Caesar hopesthat by marrying Antony, his sister can smooth within the conflictsin the triumvirate. Both affects that a woman can have seem to be associated tomale power, either aiding political development or creating chaos in the publicsphere. It appears that while Cleopatra is attracted to Antony's ability, the effectsof her excited character and womanly qualities will eventually be thedownfall of a powerful man. Alexandria, the mark of interest and desireexerts too tight a hold on Antony for him to keep the power that Cleopatraloves in him and craves for herself.

Bibliography

The Norton Shakespeare, Stephen Greenblatt (Oxford College or university Press, 1997)

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