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

While Mark Antony is a great general, one of the three triumvant, it is indeed impossible to feel sympathy for him in his extreme "dotage" for Cleopatra

Extracts from this document...


While Mark Antony is a great general, one of the three triumvant, it is indeed impossible to feel sympathy for him in his extreme "dotage" for Cleopatra. He "fishes, drinks and wastes the lamps of night in revel", hence destroying his own reputation, and even losing his masculinity, and thus, respect. In the opening scene of the play, even before Antony appears, he is constituted by the ideological structure of the Roman world. Antony's identity is discussed to be in a state of oscillation: "This dotage of our general's o'erflows the measure." The "measure" spoken of here refers to a limit that describes the proper standard of Roman identity. Deviation from this identity is what alarms the Roman audience (I.e. Philo and Demetrius). Right from the start, in Philo's opening speech, we learn that Antony's heart refuses all self-restraint. His desire is excessive, producing a transformation from a "pillar of the world" -- a firm bearer of the Roman senate, likened to "Mars", god of war, clad in armour -- "into a strumpet's fool." ...read more.


The cyclical cooling and enflaming suggests the fluctuating course that Antony will follow, suggesting a sort of shameful helplessness of Antony in regard for his love for Cleopatra. It also suggests entrapment - the passionate being to his passion and the passive being to his fate. It becomes lucid that the establishment of both his Roman and Egyptian identities require his physical presence: Antony: The business she [Fulvia] hath broached in the state [Rome] cannot endure my absence. Enobarbus: And the business you have broach'd here cannot be Without you, especially that of Cleopatra's, which wholly depends on your abode. But despite his being a military man (the implication of self-discipline), Antony tries to bifurcate: "The strong necessity of time commands our services for awhile; but my full heart remains in use with you...That thou, residing here, goes yet with me; And I, hence fleeting, here remain with thee." Antony which to return to Italy, where it "shines o'er with civil swords". ...read more.


Lack of proper cultivation of the ground (Roman earth) of his masculinity, Antony is prone towards a principle of excess determining him. Figuration of women as apparel to dress men's bodies resonates. Caesar, after describing some of Antony's pleasurable immoderations, says that he "is not more manlike than Cleopatra,; nor the Queen of Ptolomy more womanly than he." Cleopatra recalls of the time, when she "drunk him to his bed; Then put my tires and mantles on him, whilst I wore his sword Philippan." Consequently, Antony is presented in several emasculated ways - as a eunuch, a pleasure-seeking boy, and cross-dressed as a woman. As a result of all these dynamics, the audience's deference to him is supplanted with disgust, that such a great man could allow himself to degenerate to such a position, of losing his identity and replacing it with an ineffectual one. As such, the disgust disallows the audience to generate any feelings of sympathy towards him, proving the statement given to be accurate. Literature Essay - 'It is impossible to feel sympathy for Mark Antony, a man who is nothing more than a strumpet's fool.' Do you agree? ...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. Antony is often talked of as a tragic hero, a great and admiral man ...

    Antony feels that if he loses his honour then he has lost everything and that there is nothing left for him. This shows the audience that Antony's reputation is very important to him and that he could never lose it otherwise he will lose all of his honour and will never be respected again.

  2. Explore the presentation and effects of love in Antony and Cleopatra.

    Antony's nobleness and honor have completed vanished. This is one of the first humiliations he suffers before he eventually dies. It has become apparent to him that even Eros, a subordinate soldier, and Cleopatra, a woman, have been "thrice nobler" and have been able to take their own lives when he could not.

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

    Caesar invites Antony to sit, 'Sit' and Antony insists that Caesar sits first, 'Sit, Sir.' This is the first sign of power struggle between the two triumvirs. Caesar sits first when he says 'Nay, then', putting an end to their bandying of civilities, and Antony no doubt soon after.

  2. Analysis of scene one - Antony and Cleopatra

    the play between duty and passion, between Roman power and the good life of Egypt. He is never able to reconcile the two, and their fundamental incompatibility are emphasized by the commentary provided by Philo and Demetrius. When Antony and Cleopatra appear before us, they are beautiful in their excess.

  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. Do you agree that this is essentially how Shakespeare presents the opposition between East ...

    Without 'East' there would be no concept of 'West,' and vice versa, and this pattern is applicable to all the converses that the antithetical spheres represent. Both are equally important in the development of full humanity - the values that 'West' and 'East' represent should be in harmony within both society and the human psyche.

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