• 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...

Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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 ...

    This is another one of Antony's flaws as he maybe cares slightly too much about his reputation and that could cloud his better judgement. Whilst Octavia has gone to visit her brother, Antony goes back to Egypt to be with Cleopatra.

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

    Antony and Lepidus's relationship seems to be a less strained one when set against Caesar's terse acknowledgement of legal obligation. We see Antony assuring Lepidus joins them to see Octavia, 'Let us, Lepidus, not lack your company' in Act II Scene II.

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

    meet his obligations by choosing to remain in Alexandria to spend time with Cleopatra. This act causes the dissatisfaction of two other characters: Philo and Octavius Caesar. Shakespeare uses these characters in order to provide the audience with a different point of view on Antony's behaviour.

  2. Write a concise account of the history of the Lutheran passion up to Bach's ...

    the idea of John's gospel that the passion story was preordained before the beginning of time, and it is fate, destiny and is driving Christ towards his fate. There is always a firm belief in the fact that Christ is Lord, shown by the frequent use of the phrase 'I am'.

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

    However this is not the case and his judgement is often affected by his feeling for Cleopatra. In turn this dramatically affects his actions, which contradicts with his ethics of work and responsibility: "Let Rome in Tiber melt, and the wide arch of the ranged empire fall" (1, 1, 33-4)5.

  2. Analysis of scene one - Antony and Cleopatra

    The first scene is short, and framed by the disparaging comments of Philo and Demetrius, two of Antony's men. The Roman soldiers disapprove of Antony's decadent affair with the queen, and are quick to write her off as a whore.

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