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

In Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, why is Cleopatra such an enduring figure?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

In Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra, why is Cleopatra such an enduring figure? 'The Life of Marcus Antonius,' written by Plutarch, was the source used by Shakespeare to create the play of Antony and Cleopatra. Plutarch was a Greek, writing in the first century, and his work on 'The life of Marcus Antonius' was a reflection of the similar lives of the Greeks and Romans. He hints that, although he had accepted Rome as the ruler of Greece, he insisted Greece being a more sophisticated culture of the two. Reasons were because Plutarch gave his characters positive and negative attributes, emphasising more on their way of thinking, rather than their nationality. In doing this, Plutarch is seen to be able to be a fairer judge of character, as his eyes aren't hindered by a different culture or race. Using Plutarch's work, other writers were able to use his work, and were able to create more characters, in order to emphasise Cleopatra's influence and make her more dramatic in her actions. ...read more.

Middle

Shakespeare allows Cleopatra to have as big a part in the play as Antony, thus making Cleopatra a famous and unusual woman of her time. In this I mean that in the 19th century, the role of a woman was completely different to now, as women weren't seen, as Cleopatra is - powerful and influential. Cleopatra has great power over other people, through both her sexual tenacity and her fiery temperament. However, Cleopatra would be seen today as an ordinary woman, as women are now deemed as equals to men. This was not the case in the 19th century, as men played a larger part in society than women. To see a third of the largest empire in the world in the hands of a woman was impossible in the 19th century. This made Antony and Cleopatra almost scandalous to its Elizabethan audience, making it very interesting and desirable for its audience. ...read more.

Conclusion

This nature in Cleopatra is another reason for her endurance in the play. Cleopatra's sense of pride makes her an enduring figure. Although she knows that she will be ridiculed, she has the willpower not to become a trophy for Caesar, which he intends her to be. She lives up to this by nobly committing suicide after Antony's unjustified sacrifice. Her death, however avoids the pain seen in Antony's death, as his was for no apparent reason. Her death is seen as peaceful and painless, and her justification is seen as Antony, waiting for her. Even Caesar sees this, and concludes, "No grave upon the earth shall clip in it a pair so famous" showing that their love was so great, and to so much consequence that it has earned them a large place in history. Now, why is Shakespeare's Cleopatra such an enduring figure, because of her sensuality, and sexual prowess over others, both influencing mind and actions. Her almost sly actions made her a more influential and unconventional figurine. ...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. Antony and Cleopatra - How has Shakespeare presented the three main characters to us ...

    (line 26) Antony obeys this command from Cleopatra showing he is under her influence. Cleopatra is dominant throughout most of Act 1. Shakespeare has perhaps done this, so that when we see her distraught and upset, it will be a shock.

  2. Essentially Antony and Cleopatra is a story of power politics; its theme is not ...

    Caesar is forced to confront the limitations of earthly power in contrast to Antony and Cleopatra's suggested transcendence. Caesar's conquest of worldly empire is limited. Following Antony's death, in Cleopatra's eyes 'there is nothing left remarkable /Beneath the visiting moon', a world that echoes Antony's previous sentiments when he took

  1. Shakespear's Anthony and Cleopatra.

    Were publicly enthroned; at the feet sat Caesarion, whom they call my father's son, And all the unlawful issue that their lust..." Caesar is saying that Antony has treated Rome with scorn, now that his interests lie with Cleopatra in Egypt.

  2. Analysis of scene one - Antony and Cleopatra

    The beginning of that process follows immediately. As the servants and Cleopatra exit, Antony enters with messengers and finally hears the news he has been avoiding. Antony sees the price of his neglect of his duties, and he is immediately remorseful, owning up to his faults and encouraging the messenger to tell him all bad news without fear.

  1. Free essay

    Antony and Cleopatra

    Cleopatra is never at a disadvantage in a male dominated world. She is very much a consummate actress and this is shown when Antony has to tell her that he will have to return to Rome. She is greatly enraged and feels that there has never been a queen 'so mightily betrayed.'

  2. Discuss the presentation and dynamics of the triumvirate in Antony and Cleopatra

    position and compares his effectiveness to 'the holes where eyes should be'. It becomes clear that the relationships among the members of the triumvirs is a cause for attention as we are introduced by Philo to Antony's disregard for Caesar's messages and Lepidus's failure in his effort at peacemaking.

  1. Antony and Cleopatra - How does Shakespeare create this sense of distance and power ...

    The Elizabethan era can be compared to Egypt. It was a frivolous time of jollity, whereas the reign of James I was essentially much more focused upon militaristic virtues. In the play, Western and Eastern poles are characterized by those who inhabit them: Caesar embodies the stoic duty of the West, whilst Cleopatra represents the epicurean, hedonistic Eastern culture.

  2. A “strumpet” and her “fool”. Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra are too sordid as characters ...

    As soon as the play opens we learn of her adulterous relationship with Antony, which, together with her past history, immediately opens her to criticism. In the opening lines Philo says Antony is a tool "to cool a gypsies lust", Antony is just another man for a "strumpet".

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