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Show how Shakespeare establishes the main issues of the play in the first scene of "Antony and Cleopatra"

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Introduction

Show how Shakespeare establishes the main issues of the play in the first scene of "Antony and Cleopatra" Shakespeare opens the play with a speech by Philo which is contemptuous and reveals a lot about the play itself: "Nay, but this dotage of our General's O'erflows the measure" Philo is referring to his "General" Mark Antony as loosing control and becoming soft headed. Philo and the Romans believe Mark Antony is foolish because he has become a hedonist who is cooling a "gypsy's lust" of course referring to Cleopatra. This is a key theme of the novel because the Romans dislike Antony's relationship with this "gypsy" because she is keeping him from his duties in Rome and the Romans do not ...read more.

Middle

of the Romans because he is one of "The triple pillars of the world" and Antony is a gifted soldier but this gifted god like soldier has turned his attention "Upon a tawny front". North African people are "tawny" or olive coloured. This is Antony's distraction, the tawny woman Cleopatra. Throughout the play Mark Antony's torn between the Roman Empire and Cleopatra. "The triple pillar of the world transformed Into a strumpets fool." Antony has supposedly become a fool to a woman Cleopatra and to the Romans a woman was someone lower than them who had no power but Cleopatra has immense power over Antony and this is totally unacceptable for the Romans. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is true of Antony's attitude throughout the play. The reason for this behaviour of Antony's is he is torn, torn between the Roman Empire and his burning passion and desire for Cleopatra. Antony is so in love with Cleopatra that he would rather "Let Rome in Tiber melt" because he is convinced "Here is my space" in Egypt. Another theme revealed in the opening by Shakespeare is pleasure and Antony's pleasure is always hindered by the call of duty, the call of the Roman Empire but from the opening scene we know which one Antony prefers: "There's not a minute of our lives should stretch Without some pleasure now." ...read more.

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