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

Discuss the presentation of Cleopatra presented in Act 1

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Discuss the presentation of Cleopatra presented in Act 1 In act 1 in Antony and Cleopatra, Cleopatra is presented as a dominant, sexually veracious, dramatic character that is totally besotted with Antony and wants to know everything about him when he is not around him. She comes across as a very complex character that seems to show a state of ambivalence that is of love and hate, by poking fun at and belittling Antony when he is present, but constantly wandering about him when he is gone even to the point of her conjuring up an image of him. It is apparent that one of Cleopatra's characteristics is her dominance and especially the dominance she holds over Antony. In their first exchange she illustrates herself to be the more dominant entity verbally compared to Antony. She forces Antony to keep on complimenting her by saying how much he loves her: "there's beggary in the love that can be reckoned...then must thou needs find out new heaven, new earth [for his love]". From this short conversation, Cleopatra's dominance is illustrated by how she controls it: "if it be love indeed, tell me how much", showing that she is in total control even so much as by saying that she will tell him how much to love her: "I'll set a bourn how far to be beloved". ...read more.

Middle

The vulgar language which includes: "cut...case...smock...cunning" which refer to the sexual genitals, illustrates that Shakespeare did this for the everyman, and the poorer less intelligent audience. In this scene she is described as "cunning past man's thought", which suggests she is manipulative and cunning but also it's a sexually explicit term in Shakespearean literature. Further sexual jesting goes on saying that "she hath such a celerity in dying", which reiterates the idea of her being sexually hungry. In act 1 Egyptians are seen as passionate and Cleopatra optimizes this when she talks to Charmain. Charmain describes her old flame, Caesar, as: "Brave..." and she is corrected by Cleopatra to say: "brave Antony" instead, however Charmain simply says that she is only copying her: "I sing but after you", which shows she was equally obsessed with Caesar as she is with Antony, testifying her passionate nature. Cleopatra in Act 1 is also presented as a woman who absolutely adores Antony and one who although is rude to him when he is there; she misses him when he is gone. When he is absent she is so infatuated with him that she always wants to know everything about him. ...read more.

Conclusion

Her dramatic being resurfaces later on, in scene 2, when she says: "I am sick and sullen...help me away, dear Charmain! I shall fall..." at the sight of Antony and also in scene 5 in the exchange between her and Alexas: "Note him...note him...note him", suggesting that the triple "note him" adds to the idea that there is evidence of theatrical conciseness, and highlights the dramatic nature of Cleopatra. The final characteristic of Cleopatra is the idea of mysticism. This is a current theme in the play and applies to Egypt but also to Cleopatra to an extent. She is described as a: "gipsy" and an "enchanting queen", which links to this idea but also to the fact that many felt she was keeping Antony almost under a spell and her antics are often described as: "witchcraft". The idea of her keeping Antony away from Rome is reiterated in Antony's words: "These strong Egyptian fetters I must break...", picturing Cleopatra as a temptress keeping Antony in Egypt rather that Rome neglecting his responsibilities as a leader. In conclusion Cleopatra is presented as a dominant typically passionately Egyptian women especially when loving Antony. She epitomizes Egypt and all that it stands for, that is: overindulgence, and a women who is presented as being very complicated when it comes to her feelings. ...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

    Discuss Shakespeare's presentation of Cleopatra in the play 'Antony and Cleopatra'

    3 star(s)

    Before Cleopatra dies there is imagery of mothering 'thou not see my baby at my breast', this is in reference to the asp. This shows her as being a maternal figure. The audience knows she has children; although they are not particularly mentioned in the play, but this imagery shows her almost cradling this asp.

  2. An exploration of Shakespeare's presentation of Rome and Egypt in Antony and Cleopatra

    Rome is strict on other virtues such as power, ambition, reputation, honour, integrity and above all loyalty which is highly valued. This is clearly shown when Caesar is questioning Antony's loyalty and recalling how Antony was prior to Cleopatra. "And all this it wounds thine honour that I speak it now...was bourne so like a soldier that thy cheek..."

  1. Explore Shakespeare's presentation of Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra

    The scene begins with the Queen fondly recalling experiences with Antony. She had out-drunk him, dressed him up in her clothes and worn his sword, with which he had won the battle of Philippi. Her daydreaming and the sudden interruption that follows set up an antithesis between her fantasizing and the harsh reality of what has just happened.

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

    although it is Cleopatra's fault, Antony blames himself for being a fool, "Egypt, thou knew'st too well / My heart was to thy rudder tied by th'strings". Proved by his reactions to Enobarbus betraying him, Antony was unlikely to lose his temper but Cleopatra is his raw nerve and shows

  1. OPPOSITIONAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA.

    The god-like Cupids that surround her create heat in the very cheeks they cool. They establish a sensuality and beauty by "undoing what they do". Similarly, the beauty of Cleopatra and Antony's relationship stems out of Cleopatra's beauty, yet it is the violent passion within this beauty that eventually destroys the relationship.

  2. Using Act III Scene 13, how does Shakespeare present the character of Mark Antony?

    doing, and the speed with which he resolves to offer a dual shows that he hasn't considered it at all; it appears he wants to think and act fast just for the sake of it, rather than making precise tactical decisions.

  1. 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."

  2. Explore the presentation and effects of love in Antony and Cleopatra.

    This use of hyperbole adds humor to the play as the reader identifies the exaggeration and knows that Antony is mortal. This description enables us to see the vivid change in Antony's judgement. As the play progresses the audience can further observe the deterioration of Antony's greatness mainly because of awful decisions made by his affected judgement.

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