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Shakespear's Anthony and Cleopatra.

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Introduction

Within Act 2, Scene 3, Antony encounters the Soothsayer, who was previously in Act 1, Scene 2. Within the second Act, the Soothsayer says a number of things which highlights the fate of Antony. The Soothsayer also gives expression to Antony's thoughts and feelings. The Soothsayer gives Antony an excuse for him to return to Egypt and Cleopatra and maybe the verbalisation of Antony's fate as described by the Soothsayer, gives Antony a god enough reason for him to return to Egypt. The significance of this encounter with the Soothsayer is that Antony is a Roman, but to consult a Soothsayer seems to be a typically Egyptian thing to do. This type of fortune reading is seen as nothing but nonsense by Romans and always dismissed as superstition. This becomes particularly apparent in Act 1, Scene 2, when Enobarbus shows what he thinks of the Soothsayer and fortune reading, when he says: "Mine, and most of our fortunes tonight, shall be - drunk to bed." This shows that Enobarbus is not taking the Soothsayer seriously, and Enobarbus believes that people's lives are not mapped out and there is no way of predicting what is going to happen. This is the general view of fortune reading by the Roman people, however, Antony takes a great interest in what the Soothsayer has to say and he takes the advice he receives very seriously. Firstly, Antony asks the Soothsayer if he would rather be in Egypt, the Soothsayer replies, saying, that he would never have come from there and neither would have Antony if they didn't have a good enough reason. ...read more.

Middle

This part of the play is suggesting that people who have anything to do with Antony should be wary of him; as everything he does causes his own downfall and he is the sole cause of his problems. Caesar says to watch for his actions and what they mean in every motion he makes. In my opinion, this means that Caesar thinks that Antony makes mistakes all the time and he is usually the cause of them, the only time he doesn't make mistakes is when he is in battle. Finally, at the beginning of Act 4, Scene 1, Caesar voices his opinions to Maecenas about the way Antony refers to him as "boy", Caesar then say: "He calls me boy, and chides as he has power To beat me out of Egypt. My messenger He hath whipped with rods, dares me to personal combat, Caesar to Antony. Let the old ruffian know I have many other ways to die, meantime Laugh at his challenge." This is meant to make Antony look stupid and inferior next to Caesar, but it manages to reflect badly on Caesar. It shows the audience that Caesar has no honour and doesn't take this old fashioned soldiership seriously, unlike Antony. However, Antony does accept a challenge at sea. This challenge between Antony and Caesar is not just a personal challenge, but a fight between Rome and Egypt, to see who the better of the two is. Caesar's problem is that Antony calls him "boy"; this suggests that Cesar has a big problem with his young age. ...read more.

Conclusion

Agrippa also says: "Whose virtue and general graces speak." Agrippa is saying that Octavia has qualities and virtues which no other woman has. Enobarbus also has an opinion of Octavia, he says; "Octavia is of a holy, cold, and still conversation." He is saying that Octavia is boring and religious, which Enobarbus sees as being a downside to her personality. He says that she has still conversations, which means that she is quiet and does not speak much to others. Antony calls Octavia a "swansdown feather", he is trying to imply that Octavia is like a feather on a river, and can not decide upon which way to go. Antony means that Octavia is weak against himself and she will agree or do anything that Antony says. It is clear from Shakespeare's play, that there are many opinions of Antony, some of which are good and in his favour and others that are bad and against him. However, there are characters in the play that have in one scene said nothing but good comments and later on in the play, say nothing but bad remarks about Antony, it may not always be clear what causes the characters to change their opinion, but it usually has something to do with Antony's love for Cleopatra. It is obvious that Antony is an excellent soldier and Roman, especially when it comes to wars and battles. But, when it comes to deciding upon Rome or his love life, he is not so certain, and is usually disliked for his decision by his fellow Roman soldiers. Discuss the Importance of the Comments Made By Other Characters in the Presentation of Antony Philip Jennings - 12A ...read more.

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