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

Discuss the Ways Shakespeare Presents the Differences Between Rome and Egypt in 'Antony and Cleopatra'.

Extracts from this document...


Discuss the Ways Shakespeare Presents the Differences Between Rome and Egypt in 'Antony and Cleopatra'. Rome and Egypt are the two main locations where 'Antony and Cleopatra' are set, these two countries are represented very differently within the play. Shakespeare uses characters, language, mood and themes to represent the differences of the countries. The contrast of these two countries is what drives the main plot of the play. Rome is the west and is portrayed as political, strict and masculine where as Egypt, the east, is portrayed as feminine, mysterious and passionate. Egypt is the country which Shakespeare makes his audience warm to. Egypt is an ancient civilisation which is colourful, warm and exotic. Egyptians live life to the full and enjoy socialising, partying, sex and wining and dining. 'Bring in the banquet quickly; wine enough Cleopatra's health to drink.' This is shown through the character of Cleopatra who is the queen of Egypt and one of the few female characters in the play. As she is the queen of Egypt, her seductive, warm personality reflects on her positive country and citizens. 'I'th'East my pleasures lies.' Throughout the play the word Egypt, is regularly referred to the queen showing they are one and depend on each other. ...read more.


Even the minor characters seem to symbolise their countries. For example, the soothsayer, who is an Egyptian, is mysterious and persuasive. Even his occupation (a fortune-teller) represents aspects of Egypt. When sent to Rome by Cleopatra to persuade Antony to return to Egypt the soothsayer succeeds to do so in less than forty lines. 'I will to Egypt.... I'th'East my pleasure lies.' This occurs just minutes after Antony has promised his new wife that he will remain committed to her and his country. 'I have not kept my square, but that to come shall all be done by th'rule.' The soothsayer also highlights the sensibility of Rome when he offers Enobarbus to have his fortune told. Enobarbus kindly refuses 'Most of our fortunes tonight, shall be drunk to bed'. He does not trust the mysteriousness of Egypt yet is willing to wine and dine in the country. Enobarbus represents the honour and loyalty of Rome. Enobarbus can see that Antony's pleasure lies in Egypt and he makes him see that he has not made a mistake in spending time there. When Antony has doubts about whether he should have spent time with Cleopatra 'Would I have never seen her?' Enobarbus convinces him that he did the right thing other wise he would have missed out. 'you had then left unseen a wonderful piece of work...' ...read more.


They are in a positive situation and country and even there speech speaks positive of Egypt. 'Welcome from Egypt, sir.' 'My honourable friend Agrippa!' 'Good Enobarbus!' There is a political theme that runs through the play and drives the plot. The outcome of the play in political terms is that Rome wins and Egypt loses. As the leaders of Rome and Egypt represent their countries their political issues reflects on their lives. At the end of the play Cleopatra, Antony and Enobarbus all die in Egypt. Leaving only one triumvir, Caesar, alive in Rome. For the first time in the play Rome is seen as superior country yet this is the outcome of its harsh characteristics. Rome thrives on loyalty and honour and as Antony and Enobarbus have betrayed their duties and fallen in love with the seductive land of Egypt, they had to pay by death. Unlike Caesar who stuck by his duties, remained loyal and is still alive and rules Rome alone. Shakespeare has left his audience thinking about the play and the message which he is trying to get across. The audience can see the themes of the play in their lives and tells them that to be successful in life they have to be honourable to there duties and those around them. Yet also to live life to its fullest and enjoy it so they do not turn bitter and formal. ...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 the love between antony and cleopatra throughout shakespeares play

    As Cleopatra learns what her fate at Caesar's hands may be, she continues to excel the virtues of Antony, 'I dream'd there was an emperor Antony: - O, such another sleep, that I might see but such another man!' The passion she appears to have whilst talking of Antony leads the audience to believe she had such feelings for him.

  2. How Shakespeare presents the character of Cleopatra in" Anthony and Cleopatra" The play of ...

    When Cleopatra says, "I kiss his conqu'ring hand. Tell him I am prompt /To lay my crown at his feet, and there to kneel" (75-76 3.13). I think she does this as she knows that however bad the situation she could, if need be still win over Anthony's forgiveness.

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

    In death Antony returns to his previous identity as true noble Roman, by being, "A roman by a roman valiantly vanquished". Or does he? The tragic hero is dead, but the tragic events go on, with interesting effects on the audience's responses to Antony.

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

    Cleopatra is given an amazing description by Enobarbus in Act 2 Scene 2, he says "so perfumed that/The winds were lovesick with them". This infers that Cleopatra's presence affects everything around her, even nature itself. Describing the winds as "lovesick" suggests that it is impossible not to fall in love with her.

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

    When Antony dies, Caesar calls him "so great a thing", and now that, in Act 5 Scene 2, Cleopatra is dead, he says "she looks like sleep, as she would catch another Antony in her strong toil of grace". However, there are two sides to Cleopatra's attractiveness, powers of seduction and beauty.

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

    Using sight he describes the colours that replicate her character, 'Purple the sails', 'Beaten gold' and the 'Oars were silver',he uses the colours of royalty and grandeur, furthering her intensity and monarchical qualities. Enobarbus uses the sense of touch to incorporate sexual imagery and sensuality, 'The silken tackle swell with

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

    One thing that the audience may particularly disapprove of is the fact that Cleopatra seems to think she has grown up since her 'salad days'. However she proves herself wrong because she shows the audience that she can deal adequately with the political problems of that time as well as dealing with everyday situations.

  2. In the play "Antony and Cleopatra", the character of Cleopatra is one of many ...

    When he saw her "hop 40 paces through the public streets", she was "breathless" yet able to "power breath forth". This as a whole is something of a paradox. This prepares us for greater paradoxes of Cleopatra's 'infinite variety', where she is contrasted with other women in making men 'hungry',

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