• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What Tensions and Conflicts are Established in Act 1 and Act 2 of Antony and Cleopatra?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

What Tensions and Conflicts are Established in Act 1 and Act 2 of Antony and Cleopatra? Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra is a tale of conflict, love and responsibilities. In a world where Egyptian values contrast sharply with those of Rome, personal passions and tensions are set against a backdrop of political and military issues, creating irony and tension. Antony's decadent exploits in the east and his infatuation with Cleopatra, combined with his neglect of duty as a triumvir create drama as they highlight the delicate balance of power which exists within his world. The underlying pressure of war forces forward matters, as the virility and moral standards of the tragic hero come under scrutiny. Firstly, even before Antony and Cleopatra are introduced to the audience, the opening lines from Philo create an expectant atmosphere as he describes the deterioration of Antony from a strong and powerful leader into 'a strumpets fool.' ...read more.

Middle

This devotion for Cleopatra also creates a schism between himself and Caesar, as his obsession with the Egyptian queen leads him to neglect his military obligations. Further personal tensions are aroused between the two lovers as a result of Cleopatra's unpredictable behaviour, which is evident from her numerous outbursts in Act 1 Scene 3 during which she accuses Antony, among other things, of lying and betrayal. Further conflict develops in the opening two acts through the clashing of Roman ideals and Egyptian values. Consequently, Antony's attempt to merge these two incompatible lifestyles leads to hostility and drama in the play, primarily between Caesar and the tragic hero. This is illustrated in Act 1 scene 4, where Caesar describes Antony in an extremely negative light, claiming he is, "A man who is the abstract of all faults that men follow." ...read more.

Conclusion

The contempt he maintains towards the irresponsible lifestyle Antony has been leading is therefore expressed as antagonism towards the tragic hero. Furthermore, tension is shaped as the characters are forced to choose between their desires and their obligations. It is evident with Antony, for example, that his principal inclination is to stay in Egypt and continue his passionate affair with Cleopatra. However, he faces a moral dilemma in that he recognises he has made an oath to the triumvirate to fulfil his duty as a military commander, and so is forced to leave the pleasures of the east. This creates drama within his relationship with the Egyptian queen, as she mocks him for being under the command of Caesar, claiming that when Caesar sends his mandate Antony must yield to the whims of the triumvirate. Consequently, this contributes to the hostility between the two triumvirs, as Antony appears to purposely disregard his military responsibilities as a show of masculinity and autonomy to Cleopatra. Rahim Rahemtulla ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Antony and Cleopatra section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Antony and Cleopatra essays

  1. The central concerns of the Antony and Cleopatra as illustrated by Act 1, Scene ...

    She is thus reacting emotionally (out of fear) and is not behaving like a rational person. This is typical of the way Antony behaves whilst he is in Egypt. Cleopatra and Antony are thus both passionate people who live for the here and now (Guidelines, 1999:21).

  2. Discuss the presentation and dynamics of the triumvirate in Antony and Cleopatra

    The play's political scenes have a remarkable quality of sharp, close observation. While the relationship between Antony and Caesar can only be grasped indirectly from the conversation between Caesar and Lepidus in the opening act, the relations of Caesar and Lepidus are caught in a matter of seconds when Lepidus

  1. Discuss Shakespeare's presentation of Mark Antony in Act1 of Antony and Cleopatra

    something horrible like horse's urine, because of its connection to Antony, is tinted with gold. Alexas' face, merely a messenger, is gilded solely for the reason that he came with news from Antony. Through the use of this symbolism Shakespeare creates the image that Antony has an effect on people

  2. Analysis of scene one - Antony and Cleopatra

    the loss of Fulvia, so will he be unmoved by the loss of Cleopatra; then she tells Antony to forgive her, and to be on his way, with her hopes for his success. Note that Cleopatra sees every bit of news only in terms of how it relates to her.

  1. Antony was a strong leader in Rome; he met Cleopatra after his friend Julius ...

    I believe this is a fair statement as Antony was once a great man and did a lot for the Roman Empire but now is more oh a hindrance than help. The significance of this is that the two men talking are Romans and they portray all of the Romans views of Antony.

  2. Antony is often talked of as a tragic hero, a great and admiral man ...

    To this Caesar replies "For Antony I have no ears to his request." Here he is saying that he doesn't want to hear Antony's requests and now the audience see Caesar as the stronger character for the first time as Antony's laid back but strong attitude has gone and now Caesar has this attitude instead.

  1. How does Anthony and Cleopatra present the contrast between the conquering west and the ...

    the play, that prior to his Egyptianised, self indulgent person Antony "didst drink the stale of horses" and that he grazed on "The Barks of Trees... eat strange flesh which some did die to look on". This image is the clearest expression of Roman fortitude.

  2. Show how Shakespeare brings out the duality in Antonys character in Act 1.

    Questions are raised as to what way he will go. This injects tension into the play. In the beginning of scene three, Cleopatra makes the request: ? If you find him sad, Sad that I am dancing; if in mirth, report That I am sudden sick.? This request displays Cleopatra?s dramatic, attention seeking and indulgent side.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work