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Antony and Cleopatra - How has Shakespeare presented the three main characters to us by the end of Act 2?

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Introduction

Antony and Cleopatra essay: How has Shakespeare presented the three main characters to us by the end of Act 2? When we look at Antony, Cleopatra and Caesar, we immediately see that they are completely different characters. Our first impressions of Antony are a laid-back, relaxed man, who is obsessed with Cleopatra, as any man would be. We see Cleopatra as a queen, who has power over anyone she wants to. She is also very flamboyant. Caesar, meanwhile, seems not the type of person to rule a third of the Roman Empire, as he is too young, but as the play progresses, we see a different side to him, as a more ruling and powerful man. To understand these characters more, I will study the text in more detail. When we first see Antony, in Act 1: Scene1, we get the impression that he is devoted to Cleopatra and he is a loyal lover to her, but not to his wife: Fulvia: "There's beggary in the love that can be reckon'd." (line15) Shakespeare has presented him to us in this way because then later on in the play, when we see him as a politician, the audience will see that Antony can be more than the tranquil, carefree leader he is supposed to be. ...read more.

Middle

If Antony did not marry Caesar's wife, then the dispute between him and Caesar would carry on and the Roman Empire would be in ruins. Throughout the rest of the play we see Antony as a good politician, who manages to settle arguments with Pompey as he did Caesar. In Act 2: scene 7, Antony, along with Lepidus and other Roman soldiers, becomes very drunk. Shakespeare presents Antony as a drunken man to us, to show us he can still be relaxed and joyful without Cleopatra. Shakespeare has shown many characteristics in Antony, but we are to see more as the play progresses. When we move onto Cleopatra, we can immediately see how different she is to Antony. Shakespeare presents her this way to show the audience the difference between Egypt and Rome. Egypt is very feminine and relaxed, whereas Rome is masculine and stern. The contrast of personalities between the two lovers portrays this. In her beginning scene Act 1: scene 1, we see that she dominates Antony portraying her as a confident, powerful woman. Shakespeare uses this to represent a beautiful woman, who will get what she wants: " your dismission Is come from Caesar; therefore hear it, Antony." ...read more.

Conclusion

In this scene, we learn that she is a 'chatterbox'. The messenger is trying to tell her that Antony is married, but Cleopatra will not let him, as she will not stop moaning about missing Antony, showing how much she misses him. This would be very suspenseful, as the audience would be very keen to learn how she will react when she learns of this news. Shakespeare portrays her character like this for dramatic suspense. When she does learn of his marriage, we see a different side to her: she is violent. It is not a great shock to us that she is violent, but she carried a knife in her robes, which portrays her as a woman with infinite variety: "Rogue, thou hast lived too long! Draws a knife " (line 73) This violence that Shakespeare has put into Cleopatra's personality, makes us wonder how she treats Antony, and whether she is violent with him. She eventually calms down which shows her capricious nature. She is also melodramatic again. In this scene, Shakespeare has presented her as a different character. We have seen her in a different light, as she has been violent. She now desperately needs Antony, where as before Antony was besotted with her. Cleopatra has a type of weakness, which is unexpected. ...read more.

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