• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

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

Extracts from this document...


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.


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.


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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Antony and Cleopatra section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Antony and Cleopatra essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Explore the ways Shakespeare presents the concept of authority in Antony and Cleopatra

    4 star(s)

    has for Antony, despite all their disagreements and it seems that Antony was someone who Caesar really looked up to, considering the success Caesar has already achieved and the further achievements he goes on to make. The respect for Antony is quite complimentary and suggests the authority Antony did have

  2. Peer reviewed

    'Ruthless leader....loving brother....boring Puritan....gracious victor.' Explore the way in which Shakespeare presents the character ...

    Pompey fears Antony but not Octavius or Lepidus and Shakespeare uses his objective assessment to confirm the contrast between Antony, the practical soldier, and Octavius the theoretical strategist. This explains why Caesar won't fight Antony, which shows a sensible nature, but also how he is cowardly, the opposite of Antony,

  1. "A better title for this play would be 'Cleopatra and Antony' because Cleopatra is ...

    him a side to himself that angers him, seeing Cleopatra's unhappiness hurts him, "Fall not a tear". Antony is ruler and Roman, "an amorous surfeiter" with animal instincts and nobility, proven by his reaction to the thought of living without Cleopatra, suicide was seen as a brave, noble act.

  2. Antony is often talked of as a tragic hero, a great and admiral man ...

    The audience then find out that Antony did leave to follow Cleopatra as his says to his men "I followed that I blush to look upon. My very hairs do mutiny, for the white Reprove the brown for rashness, and they Them for fear and doting."

  1. How does Anthony and Cleopatra present the contrast between the conquering west and the ...

    They are many concerned with business and the issues of the Empire. Due to it's textual richness all this play's aspects, including theme, language and characters have been analysed with different emphasis at different times. Earlier interpretations tended to focus on criticisms of the language, characters and structure.

  2. English Coursework- Antony and Cleopatra

    Enobarbus says, "Never he will not." Whereas in Rome Antony becomes his own man. He is presented as a total contrast to himself in Egypt, he contests with Caesar and they argue. We see the remnants of the 'once great' Marcus Antonious. Act 2 scene 2, the Triumvir meet again to discuss the problems that have aroused from Antony's absence.

  1. Examine the Strengths and Weaknesses of Antony and Cleopatra's relationship and the significance love ...

    Up until act III scene 10 Cleopatra is seen as a very strong and brave character. The reader is aware she is slightly conniving and manipulative however this adds to her charm of character. When Enobarbus says: "With all their sixty, fly and turn the rudder."(III.10.3/4)10 Our opinion of Cleopatra drops a enormously.

  2. How are Rome and Egypt presented in Shakespere's "Antony and Cleopatra"

    his duty to the empire and his desire for pleasure, his want of military glory and his passion for Cleopatra. As the play progresses, Antony continues to occupy conflicting identities that play out the struggle between reason and emotion. At one moment he is the vengeful war hero whom Caesar praises and fears.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work