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Examine the Strengths and Weaknesses of Antony and Cleopatra's relationship and the significance love has on important events in the play.

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Introduction

Bianca Layne A-Level English Module 2, Shakespeare Examine the Strengths and Weaknesses of Antony and Cleopatra's relationship and the significance love has on important events in the play. Antony and Cleopatra's strengths in love fluctuate tremendously. Their behaviours toward each other create a chain reaction in the formation of events within the play. It is for these reasons, which determine the direction of the narrative. Antony behaviour is demonstrative of extreme strengths in his love toward Cleopatra, as he is prepared to neglect all his duties in Rome to stay in Egypt with her. His duties in Rome are very important to stabilise the triumvirate however, he still finds love more important. We see this when a messenger comes to call Antony back to Rome, his reply is: "Let Rome in Tiber melt, and the wide arch / of the ranged empire fall! Here is my space"(I.1.33)1 This shows his devotion to their love and shows the audience he has a sense of loves value. Antony uses hyperbole in his reply as he suggests that the river that flows through Rome will disappear or crumble and the bridge will collapse, before he will return, 'wide arch' also accentuates the strength of the bridge, this may show that Rome's might is so strong it does not need Antony. ...read more.

Middle

Stands he, or sits he? / or does he walk?"(I.5.19/20)5 We see here Cleopatra is continuously thinking of Antony. We imagine her to be entranced by her love for him, as she is asking questions when she does not require an answer. This gives us the image of her staring into amidst, thinking of all the different things Antony is doing. By going through his different positions 'stands' or 'sits' or 'walks' we see she is thinking about him in great detail and longs for him to be with her. All of this love and devotion led to Lepidus and Caesar resenting the time the once noble Antony spent in Egypt, and despised his neglect of duty. Antony's alliance with the two leaders had been weakened due to love. When faced with opposition from Caesar, Cleopatra's enticing behaviour comes into play again. And we see Antony's blindness play himself into a destroying event. Once the suggestion comes about that they will fight Antony at sea, Antony's reason for doing so is "For that he dares us to't."(III.7.29)6 This lacks a great deal of strategy and shows his childlike features to stand strong against a dare. ...read more.

Conclusion

Her actions were not at all those of loyalty and devotion like Antony's in Act I scene1and it shows the complete imbalance of love. The audience now dislike Cleopatra and see her as an iniquity in 'Antony and Cleopatra'. Also this scene confronts the title 'Antony and Cleopatra' as this scene is Antony on his own without Cleopatra by his side. Again we see love from Antony toward Cleopatra. Although it was foolish that he was 'Leaving the fight in height' 'and 'flies after her'(III.10.20)12 we still se he's ultimate devotion to Cleopatra. 'height' shows how the battle was at important levels, where either side could win, it seems apparent that the battle was not lost due to, the strength of the enemy, the weakness of Antony's army neither bad luck but simply the 'very ignorance'(III.10.7)13 of Antony and Cleopatra. Cleopatra's actions were like 'a cow in june stung by a gadfly'(III.10.14)14 as the speed of her turn and flight was dreadfully hasty. Antony sacrificed everything for love, his honour, power and the support of his men. Although this angered Antony the queen won him over with her inveigling skills. The third time Antony went to battle at sea, Cleopatra fled yet again. ...read more.

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