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The central concerns of the Antony and Cleopatra as illustrated by Act 1, Scene 3, lines 24 - 41.

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Introduction

Chantal Fauconier 36304808 Due Date: 03 August 2005 Modular Code: ENN206-M Assignment 01: The central concerns of the Antony and Cleopatra as illustrated by Act 1, Scene 3, lines 24 - 41. This essay will look at two of the central concerns in Antony and Cleopatra, namely reason versus passion and the public versus private domains. These two central concerns of the play are clearly illustrated in the extract we are provided with. I will mainly focus on the character of Antony in this essay as it is within him that these two concerns of the play are most evident. In the beginning of the play we see that Mark Antony has been neglecting his duties as part of the triumvirate of Rome as he has been staying with his mistress Cleopatra. His wife, Fulvia, dies and Octavius Caesar and Lepidus request that he joins them to deal with the threat of Pompey. When Antony becomes aware of Pompey's threat and Fulvia's death, he realises that he needs to free himself from the "enchanting queen" (1.2.125) or risk wasting away "in dotage" (1.2.114) (Branco, 2003). Antony goes to tell Cleopatra that he will be leaving Egypt. The extract given refers to the discussion that occurs between Cleopatra and Antony as he informs her that he will be returning to Rome. Cleopatra is very distressed by the news and accuses Antony of betrayal and being happy to return to Fulvia. ...read more.

Middle

At a time when Antony should be fighting alongside his followers, he has been indulging in the pleasures of Egypt, putting passion ahead of his reason. Hence, we can see that reason versus passion is another central concern of the play. This conflict is observed most in Antony: He continuously shifts between the two worlds of Rome and Egypt, struggling between his feelings of honour, reason and duty and his feelings of love and passion. It is when these two worlds combine that the conflict peaks beyond what he can handle (Johnston, 1999). Thus, when Rome invades Egypt, Antony has to act like a Roman soldier in Egypt. Although he tries to do this, he cannot balance the two feelings of reason versus passion (Johnston, 1999). His passion (his heart) gets in the way of his reasoning (his head). This was observed at the battle of Actium. Despite his past successes on land, the objections of his captains and the plea of a soldier, he fights by sea as Cleopatra requested (Vignier, 2004). When Cleopatra retreated, so did he - "he flies after her" "like a doting mallard" (3.10. 19 - 20). Scarus comments that he "never saw an action of such shame; / Experience, manhood, honor, ne'er before / Did violate so itself" (3.10.20-22). It is thus Antony's passion that is initially his downfall: By following passion instead of his reason, logic and responsibility (as Octavius Caesar always does), he loses much of his Empire to Octavius and many of his followers. ...read more.

Conclusion

Antony's actions in Actium and his treatment of Octavia) (Branco, 2003). In the end, Antony became a man ruled by both passion and reason - a Roman soldier and a passionate Egyptian lover. Thus showing that the two worlds are not as separate as we may think they are. Reference List 1. Bookrags, 2003. "The Diminishing of Antony." BookRags Essay Workshop. Received from the World Wide Web on 25th June 2005. Web address: http://www.bookrags.com/essays/story/2003/12/2/3392/55721 2. Branco, N (2003). Political Leadership in Antony and Cleopatra. Received from the World Wide Web on 25th June 2005. Web address: http://www.humanities.ualberta.ca/mmorris/239/branco.htm 3. Hudson Shakespeare Company, 1998a. Antony and Cleopatra. Received from the World Wide Web on 25th June 2005. Web address: http://hudsonshakespeare.org/Shakespeare%20Library/main%20pages/main_antonyandcleo.htm 4. Hudson Shakespeare Company, 1998b. The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra - Commentary. Received from the World Wide Web on 25th June 2005. Web address: http://hudsonshakespeare.org/Shakespeare%20Library/Commentaries/comm_antony_and_cleopatra.htm 5. Johnston, I. (1999). The Triumph of the Lions? An Introduction to Antony and Cleopatra. Received from the World Wide Web on 25th June 2005. Web address: http://www.mala.bc.ca/~johnstoi/eng366/lectures/antonycleopatra.htm 6. Shakespeare, William (ed. Richard Madelaine) 1998. Antony and Cleopatra. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. 7. Vignier, I (2004). Shakespeare: The Tragic in Antony and Cleopatra. Received from the World Wide Web on 25th June 2005. Web address: http://www.english-literature.org/essays/antony-cleopatra.html 8. Williams, M. 2005. "Anthony and Cleopatra" In Rabinowitz, I, Weinberg, A & Williams, M. Society: A Literary Perspective (study guide). Pretoria: University of South Africa. ?? ?? ?? ?? Chantal Fauconier 36304808 ...read more.

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