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Explore the way writers present love in Antony and Cleopatra and the poetry of John Donne

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EXPLORE THE WAY WRITERS PRESENT LOVE IN ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA AND THE POETRY OF JOHN DONNE ________________ 12/10/2012 ________________ ________________ Shakespeare?s Antony and Cleopatra presents a variety of representations of love, including transcendent and forbidden love. Throughout, Shakespeare expresses an unsurpassed love between them. However through both of their actions, the dramatist creates doubt in the audience?s mind as to whether this love is genuine. Similarly to Shakespeare, John Donne?s poem ?A Valediction Forbidding Mourning?, explores the idea of transcendental love through separation. In Antony and Cleopatra, Act One, Scene One, Shakespeare introduces us to the protagonists before they appear in the play; here Philo presents the theme of love and politics in his speech, ?His captain?s heart?A gypsy?s lust?. The use of ?captain? and ?gypsy? denotes the opposites between the two individuals, just how their countries divide the two. ?Gypsy? is seen as a derogatory term to brand an individual who does not originate from Rome, almost like an outsider. Here already Shakespeare presents forbidden love. In the play, the countries act as metaphors to love, Rome the political and cultural, and Egypt: sexuality and power, thus to why Cleopatra is referred to Egypt in the play by Antony. The motif of love is automatically introduced with Cleopatra demanding Antony to declare his love to her. ...read more.


As by expressing their emotions to the ?laity? will devalue any joys they share, if they tell the ?others? it would be a profane act, as the love they share is sacred. Donne emphasises that due to the strength of their love, other lovers become fearful when distance separates them, much greater distance than the cracks in the earth after a quake ?Moving of th? earth brings harms and fears?, but just like separation can cause fear for ?normal? lovers as their love is superior, the moving of planets (when an earthquake occurs) is ?innocent? to their love. Their love cannot be disrupted due to separation; they should not be feared by the separation. The fourth stanza concentrates on how different their love is, ?Dull sublunary lovers? love whose soul is sense-cannot admit?. With love that is sublunary, physical proximity and attractiveness form the basis of their love, for why Donne says ?care less, eyes, lips and hands to miss? telling his wife that these things shouldn?t matter if they cannot touch and see each other, their love is far from being physical but is spiritual, as their love is not like the norm, it?s in the mind. The love that Donne and his wife share is spiritual and no matter how far they part their love is ?inter-assured of the mind?. ...read more.


This relates to the poem, as Donne compares himself to a ?lovable? and precious metal, gold. In order for those to achieve the admirable love they must first believe that they are something someone admires. Samuel Johnson pinned the term ?metaphysical? to describe John Donne?s style of writing, the use of their cleverness to construct outlandish paradoxes. Aspired by this type of writing poets such as Eliot and Yeats used this to form a basis in some of their own poems, Eliot stated that Donne and Metaphysical poets like him wrote poems that celebrated through emotions the joys, sorrows and dilemmas. Other critics such as Robert Dowling also praised Donne?s style of poetry, In conclusion, Shakespeare and Donne present love through literary devices such as metaphors and the use of extravagant language. Donne?s poem can also be viewed as contradicting to his actions, expressing that they are one soul and she is his stability, yet he is leaving her, the one who makes her complete. This is reflected in Antony and Cleopatra, Shakespeare portrays their transcendent love, but eventually Antony marries another woman. Both the dramatist and the poet create a sense of doubt, to whether or not all of this was genuine at all, if at the end all they are doing is separating. Both Donne and Shakespeare use metaphysical structure and language to present the love. Although Shakespeare was before Donned time, there is a link between the two styles of writing. ________________ Natasha SmarttPage ________________ [1] http://www.vaniquotes.org- Krsna ...read more.

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