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Antony and Cleopatra - Act one scene one in structure and imagery is a microcosm of the play - Examine this scene in detail assessing what clues there are about the future.

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Chlo� Morris Antony and Cleopatra English Literature Act one scene one in structure and imagery is a microcosm of the play. Examine this scene in detail assessing what clues there are about the future. Act one scene one of 'Antony and Cleopatra' is a microcosm of the whole play, it miniaturises the fundamental themes from the play and sets the atmosphere and tone for the rest of the play. It gives a general idea of the characters personalities, their relationship with each other and possible future plots. The first scene is opened by Philo, a fellow Roman soldier and colleague of Antony's, the fact that he begins the whole play criticising Cleopatra and her country creates a bias view of her before she has even entered the scene. This is true of the whole play and even the scenes set in Egypt are greatly influenced by Roman perspective, as is the way Cleopatra is portrayed to the audience casting aspersions about the relationship which is being represented as doomed from the start. Antony's dilemma is constantly nagging in the back of his mind and he is continually reminded of his predicament by the invariable intrusion from his roman contemporaries, this is evident in this first scene and right the way through the play. The language used by Philo describes Rome and Egypt very contrastingly again generating a negative reflection of Egypt. "And is become the bellows and the fan To cool a gipsy's lust." This quotation forms a powerful visual image of Cleopatra being pampered and waited on, indulging in her luxurious life style. ...read more.


Antony, swayed by Cleopatra, disregarded the message which for a moment detached him from his love and brought him back in to current events by doing this he widened the gap separating him from his Roman people. He does this to prove to her that she is his main concern and he will ignore everything else while he is with her, this is an example of his hyperbolic approach to Cleopatra and his dramatised passion. His attitude continues in this way and ultimately it is this that erodes away at Antony's reputation in Rome, because in the end he chose love over power. Antony is torn between his obligation to Rome and Caesar and his feelings for Cleopatra, their relationship has constant obstacles in its way mainstreaming from both parties public roles and the opposition of their home countries. Philo suggests that Cleopatra is manipulating Antony with her beauty and he has become a slave of love for her when he should be focusing on what ought to be his top priority - Rome and its army, "Let Rome in Tiber melt, and the wide arch if the ranged empire fall! Here is my space!" The key themes of the entire play are featured in act one scene one; the status of both Antony and Cleopatra, their relationship and how it is very much publicised and interfered in, the conflicting characteristics of Egypt and Rome and the way that both countries and cultures differ and the most significant which is Antony's choice between his love and his invasive fellow Romans. ...read more.


The effect this announcement had on Antony was devastatingly regretful, in a final powerful speech Antony orders his faithful friend Eros to strike him dead with his own sword, previously associated with power Antony and his sword have been bought to an end. The fact that Eros cannot kill Antony and would rather be dead himself than witness the bereavement of his comrade shows just how much respect Antony still holds after all that had happened. The fact that Antony struggled to put an end to his life again demeans his manly qualities but he eventually dies a brave hero's death, whether it was solely because of his love for Cleopatra or if that was just the final straw after the vicious turn of events, either way he was dead and tragically, as he is on his death bed word comes from Egypt of Cleopatra's costly mistake. It is only when Cleopatra realises what she has done does she take any time to reflect that she may have done something wrong, as before she always seemed to look to the future and not worry about past events, she does except responsibility for her fault "That the false huswife fortune break her wheel, provoked by my offence." The features we see illustrated in the opening scene; Cleopatra's magnificence and disregard for rules and responsibilities, along side Antony and his love for fellowship battling against his love for Cleopatra are the very things that caused this catastrophic, heartbreaking ending. Philo predicted in his closing remark of act one scene one, that Antony, a changed man would fall short of his once prosperous future, as he eventually did. ...read more.

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