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Comment on the portrayal of Antony and Cleopatra and your responses to them in the first three scenes of the play.

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Introduction

Comment on the portrayal of Antony and Cleopatra and your responses to them in the first three scenes of the play. The play opens in Cleopatra's palace. Two of Antony's friends, Philo and Demetrius discuss how Antony has become the "bellows and the fan to cool a gypsy's lust" and that he has become a "strumpets fool". In his opening lines, Philo complains that Antony has abandoned the military endeavours on which his reputation is based for Cleopatra's sake. This criticism of Antony's "dotage" or stupidity, introduces a tension between reason and emotion that runs throughout the play. Antony and Cleopatra's first exchange heightens this tension, as they argue whether their love can be put into words and understand or whether it exceeds such faculties and boundaries of reason. Philo and Demetrius stand aside as Antony and Cleopatra enter. Antony and Cleopatra talk of love and Antony says, "There's beggary in the love than can be reckoned". He refuses to hear a messenger from Rome, saying "Let Rome and Tiber melt and the wide arch of ranged empire fall!" ...read more.

Middle

Cleopatra enters and says Antony is having a Roman thought, making fun of the Roman ways of sternness and no sense of a good life. A messenger tells Antony that Fulvia, Antony's wife, is stirring up trouble, first making war against Antony's brother Lucius and then uniting with Lucius against Octavius. Antony knows he is needed at home and that he must break away from his Egyptian restraints. Another messenger arrives to say Fulvia has died in Sicyon, the Greek town in which he left her. Antony generously expresses regret at her death, saying, "There's a great spirit gone! Thus did I desire it". When Antony tells Enobarbus they must depart from Rome, and Enobarbus jokes that Cleopatra will die as a result. Enobarbus tries to console him that there are other women to take the place of Fulvia. Antony knows the trouble Fulvia has caused back home and the other developing crises require his return and asks Enobarbus to stop making jokes and the prepare for departure. ...read more.

Conclusion

Antony then pledges his ongoing love for her but she continues to play the part of the rejected lover. Antony now more than ever is feeling pulled by both his duty to the empire and his desire for pleasure, his want for military glory and his passion for Cleopatra. No matter how hard Cleopatra tried Antony was set on leaving Egypt to go back to his duties and sort out his empire. Overall in the first three scenes of the play, the theme is very much so the love and desire between Antony and Cleopatra and the struggle between their relationship. We hear Rome's views on the relationship in the opening lines of the play. It is very much so a fight between the East meeting the West, Egypt meets Rome. Egypt is the full of life land and Rome is very much the orderly and structured land. At the end of the scene we are left with Antony leaving for Rome and Cleopatra continuing to live a life of decadence in the free-flowing Egypt. However I believe as much as Antony feels he should leave and return to his duties he really wants to stay and live a decadent life by Cleopatra's side. Kelly Hanson Ds11 ...read more.

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