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What does scene 5 reveal to you about the character of Cleopatra?

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What does scene 5 reveal to you about the character of Cleopatra? Cleopatra has many sides to her personality, which are brought out by her moods and who she is speaking too. In this essay I will be looking at how Cleopatra treats her friends and servants, how she is coping with Antony being gone, how people react to her and also a close look at the language she uses. At the beginning of the scene Cleopatra speaks with Mardian, her official singing eunuch. She loves to tease Mardian about how he cannot please her, and in return he plays up to be this 'faulty' person, which is expected of him. Mardian, unlike Antony, is a man she can control due to him being castrated. She complements him on this, ''Tis well for thee That, being unseminared, they freer thoughts may not fly fourth of Egypt' here she could be saying two things to Mardian, firstly that he is lucky to be free of the sexual longings that make her want to be with Antony, but also that it's lucky for him being a eunuch, that he does not think of leaving Egypt (like Antony has) ...read more.


Charmian then returns to her 'attendant' personality and apologises to Cleopatra 'your most gracious pardon, I Sing but after you'. The people surrounding Cleopatra have to change their personalities and moods to suit whatever mood Cleopatra is in, meaning Cleopatra's friendship with Charmian is not really a friendship as Charmian can never truly be herself. How Cleopatra acts when Antony is away reveals a lot about her character and how she feels about herself and Antony. The scene starts off with Cleopatra asking Charmian for a narcotic so that she can 'sleep out this great gap of time' that her Antony is away. She is thinking about Antony's every move 'Stands he, or sits he?' and speaks jealously of the horse that he may be sitting on. Horse back riding is associated with sexual intercourse, and she speaks of how the horse should be proud to hold Antony. She talks of how the horse would not know who it is taking, that Antony is the 'demi-atlas' of the world meaning he holds half the world, and is the ultimate soldier equipped only with his arm and a light helmet. ...read more.


Alexas interrupts here, a messenger from Antony, to present an orient pearl to Cleopatra. Cleopatra seems happy with Alexas' message from Antony but continues to question him about Antony. 'What, was he sad, or merry?' Alexas explains to Cleopatra that he was neither sad nor merry. Cleopatra's response to this is interesting as she justifies this information in favour of herself and Antony. She says that he cannot be sad as people look up to him, but he also cannot be merry as it shows people he wants to be in Egypt. 'He shall have every day a several greeting, Or I'll unpeople Egypt', this extravagant, expression is her response to Alexas when he questions why she sends so many messengers, ('twenty several messengers' per day). It means that she loves Antony beyond all other concerns. Cleopatra's language is serious yet exaggerating, it could be seen in a preposterous way, for example 'Or I'll be damned'. However it is still a very violent expression, revealing Cleopatra's unethical ways of dealing with certain situations. Her violent response to Alexas would scare most men off a woman, but not Cleopatra, she is explained by Enobarbus that 'she makes hungry where she most satisfies' later on in the play. Charlotte Schofield ...read more.

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