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The presentation of Rome and Egypt in the Play Antony and Cleopatra

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Introduction

The presentation of Rome and Egypt in the Play Antony and Cleopatra One of the foremost of themes in the play of Antony and Cleopatra alongside "tragedy" and "love" is the differences between the two "worlds" of Rome and Egypt. Throughout the play, Shakespeare frequently presents and demonstrates to the audience the reality and differences between these two "worlds" in many ways and forms. In this essay I will discuss how Shakespeare does this and how he presents it to the audience. Antony, who is the primary character in the play, portrays the ideas of the two "worlds" of Egypt and Rome very clearly. Shakespeare presents Antony as a different man when in Rome and a different one when in Egypt. Shakespeare organises the plot of Antony and Cleopatra around the theme of conflict between Rome and Egypt immediately. In the opening scene the two soldiers Philo and Demetrius discuss Antony's surrendering of his military duties to the exotic pleasures of Egypt and Cleopatra. ...read more.

Middle

He is tempted to stay in Egypt because of his love for Cleopatra and also because he is free from his political duties and being soldier. At the beginning of the play he says to Cleopatra "Let Rome in Tiber melt, and the wide arch of the ranged empire fall. Here is my space. Kingdoms are clay. Our dungy earth alike Feeds beast as man", This shows his yearning to stay with Cleopatra and to stay in Egypt. However later he says " I must from this enchanting queen break off". He realises that his obsession with Cleopatra is not strong enough to overcome his responsibilities in Rome. Cleopatra's character is a true representative of the state of Egypt. The Egyptian principles of love and romance are symbolised in the figure of Cleopatra. We see this by the way she rules Egypt and her affair with Antony illustrates a "world" ruled with passion, pleasure and love. ...read more.

Conclusion

However the women also gain power over men, which was the case in Antony's affair. Cleopatra gains power over Antony through love and passion and she continually deceives Antony. When Antony leaves Egypt to go back to Rome, Cleopatra sends a messenger to him, and she tell the messenger, "Well, go to, I will. But there's no goodness in thy face if Antony be free and healthful- so tart a favour, to trumpet such good tidings. If not well, thou shouldst come like a fury crowned with snakes, not like a formal man" Cleopatra sends the messenger and tells him that if he sees Antony with a miserable face, be "healthful" i.e. happy, and if he sees him with a glad face, then "come like a fury crowned with snakes". Cleopatra deliberately deceives Antony with the power of love and passion. Shakespeare presents ideas of conflict and differences between Rome and Egypt very clearly. He continuously raises the question to the audience as to which "world" is more superior and more powerful. Shakespeare leaves it to the audience to come to their own judgment ?? ?? ?? ?? Mubashar Ishfaq English Coursework 1 ...read more.

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