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

Comparative Commentary - Enobarbus' discourse in Act II Scene 2 of Shakespeare's "Antony and Cleopatra" & TS. Eliot's poem "A Game of Chess"

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Comparative Commentary: Enobarbus' discourse in Act II Scene 2 of Shakespeare's "Antony and Cleopatra" & TS. Eliot's poem "A Game of Chess" The particularity about these two passages is that although written centuries apart, they reflect each other through language, subject matter and universality. The verse "The Chair she sat in, like a burnished throne, glowed on the marble" from TS. Eliot's poem A Game of Chess has long been acknowledged as a direct allusion to Enobarbus' description of the genuine and natural Cleopatra in Act II Scene 2 of Shakespeare's tragedy Antony and Cleopatra. Likewise, I believe that the verse "O'erpicturing that Venus where we see the fancy outwork nature," from Shakespeare's play can be interpreted as being an inspiration to TS. Eliot's creation of the materialistic and artificial woman in his poem. Indeed, a major similarity between these two passages is that although they are both essentially about a woman, in neither passage is the woman really described. It is rather the woman's milieu and her effect on her surroundings that are described in great depth and detail. ...read more.

Middle

The word "Chair" in Eliot's poem is capitalized, therefore emphasized. It acts as an anti-climax since it is the first major difference the reader falls upon during his reading of the text. In Shakespeare's poem, it is a barge that Cleopatra fills like a throne, whereas in Eliot's poem it is merely a chair that the woman fills. This makes Eliot's character come across as far less extravagant and magnanimous as Cleopatra, whom Shakespeare portrays as being so great that she fills her barge as is if it were a throne, thus making both the barge and Eliot's character seem tiny in comparison to her majesty's grandeur. Also, in comparison with a chair "glowing on the marble," the mystical image of Cleopatra's barge "burning on the water" adds to Cleopatra's magnificence. The senses, more precisely sight and odor, and the natural elements, fire and water, seem to be the key themes of these two passages. They both contribute to the description of the atmosphere and setting, which in turn are a description of the character. ...read more.

Conclusion

In Shakespeare's play, the In his poem, A game of Chess it seems as if TS. Eliot is using the character of Cleopatra already invented by Shakespeare as a tool to create his own imaginary female character. Instead of starting from nothing, Eliot started with the idea of Cleopatra- a stunning, enchanting and very powerful woman, who he distorts or bends out of shape in a very subtle way in order to fabricate the woman about whom he writes. This supports the idea that all writing, all artistic creation, is in one way or another influenced by another. A totally different approach can also be taken when comparing these two passages. A different interpretation of these poems could be that they are a chronological reversal of the stereotypical view of a woman's role in society. Although this may seem like a far-fetched idea, it is clear that in contrast with Eliot's character, Cleopatra is a very powerful woman. Although Shakespeare's play was written centuries before TS Eliot's, the XVth century, a time during which women had absolutely no power in society, Cleopatra definitely is more powerful an Nadia El Tayar English A1 Higher March 18, 2003 Mr. Heery ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Antony & 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 GCSE Antony & Cleopatra essays

  1. Explore Shakespeare's presentation of EITHER Cleopatra OR Antony in Act three Scene thirteen. How ...

    want to be looked after and treated well but do not want to be looked down on; they especially do not want to be seen as being jealous in anyway because this would make them seem weak to any males that they want to impress.

  2. Evaluate his taints and honours, thus enabling us to draw our own conclusions about ...

    so our leader's led, And we are women's men" This is then forgotten about at the beginning of act four when Antony is seen at his most human - delivering an emotional speech to his followers the night before going into battle.

  1. How, in your opinion, does Shakespeare use language throughout the play to present Cleopatra's

    However Cleopatra's great control over people is not always shown to be so innocent and loving. In the very first scene Shakespeare introduces the idea that Cleopatra is and will become a bad influence on Antony's life. In the opening scene Philo believes that Cleopatra is misguiding the great Antony

  2. Cleopatra's credibility as a bewitching and paradoxical, "Royal Wench," relies heavily on Shakespeare's deliberate ...

    They are lost forever as they drown into oblivion. Cleopatra is also a very bewitching woman and this comparison to the mermaids transcends Cleopatra into the mythical and supernatural. She lures and entices men and very powerful men with no effort.

  1. "Rare Egyptian" or "Foul Egyptian"? Discuss how Cleopatra is presented to us. What is ...

    Antony to "do that thing which ends all other deeds" Her friendly relationship with her own servants does not seem to extend to other's servants. In Act 2 Scene 5 a messenger comes to her palace and tells her that Antony has married Octavia, and she explodes, striking the messenger to the floor and dragging him by the hair.

  2. An exploration of the way in which Shakespeare presents the character of Enobarbus and ...

    The first image of '...A burnished throne Burned on the water...' is very powerful creating the idea of a majestic character. It is also a powerful paradox, using the contrasting images of burning on water, a physical impossibility, levitates Cleopatra to almost mythical proportions; her presence can disobey the laws of nature.

  1. Explore Shakespeare's presentation of EITHER Cleopatra OR Antony in Act three Scene thirteen. How ...

    The audience would portray Antony as the inferior and women in particular would be intrigued because being looked after and being financially supported by a man would have been the only life they knew. They would not be sympathetic toward Antony, which is the reaction I would expect most people to have reading the play now.

  2. The Context of Anthony and Cleopatra Act 4 Scene 15

    time showing his love for Cleopatra is still there even after his defeat in battle. Anthony appears to be entirely self focused as he reminisces on his own honour and reputation as a soldier. In a formal speech he asks to be remembered for his former glory, concluding with a dignified assertion that a fellow "Roman" is killing him.

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