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Explore the love between antony and cleopatra throughout shakespeares play

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Introduction

Explore the presentation of the love between Antony and Cleopatra. Throughout the play Shakespeare presents the emotion between Antony and Cleopatra in many different ways that could be interpreted as love, or perhaps lust and nothing more. Antony is shown to be besotted whilst Cleopatra is seen as a woman of 'infinite variety' and although high maintenance, in my opinion she did love Antony and seemed to do everything within her power to keep him with her. At the beginning of this play we see Cleopatra testing Antony's love for her. 'If it be love indeed, tell me how much.' Suggests that Cleopatra is demanding of him, she enjoys the compliments paid to her, increasing her ego. This gives the impression of Cleopatra being the dominant figure in their relationship. She continues her demanding nature with 'I'll set a bourn how far to be beloved!' meaning she will limit how far she is prepared to be loved. Antony's response that 'then thou must needs find out now heaven, new earth' shows that as far as he can be concerned there is absolutely no limit that can be defined by human knowledge or experience. ...read more.

Middle

shows that Enobarbus obviously has a very high opinion of her, which would be transferred to him from Antony. This shows that Enobarbus must think that it's love. Enobarbus is used as a dramatic device to portray the way Antony sees Cleopatra, he speaks in iambic pentameter, when usually his speech is in prose. After making such a complimentary and lyrical speech about Cleopatra Mecaenas says 'if beauty, wisdom, modesty can settle the heart of Antony, Octavia is a blessed lottery to him'. In comparison to Enobarbus's speech this makes Octavia seem boring, ordinary, and gives Cleopatra an extraordinary quality. This just emphasises that Cleopatra would be the only one for Antony, and the qualities that most men would look for in a woman seem inferior to the virtues Cleopatra possesses. On being informed by a very reluctant messenger that Antony is 'bound unto Octavia', Cleopatra is horrified, unbelieving and seemingly quite distraught, contributing to the argument that she did indeed feel such affection for Antony. She displays a very angry persona when speaking to the messenger, 'I'll spurn thine eyes like balls before me' is just one of the threats made to him. ...read more.

Conclusion

This clearly shows that whatever anguish she was feeling, her overriding desire was to be re-united with her one true love. The final point I will touch on is Caesars reaction to Cleopatra's death, he announces 'she shall be buried by her Antony'. This tells the Audience that Caesar believes himself that the emotion between them was love. He also shows respects to their love with 'our army shall in solemn attend this funeral'. In essence, Shakespearean tragedies were never designed to allow true love to run smooth. With Antony and Cleopatra it is hard to conclude other than that their grand romance was doomed due to outside factors. The global ambitions of two great empires provided the backdrop whereby interference by malicious, self-serving, often malevolent personal ambitions of others could adversely affect the main protagonists of this play. This outside interference should also be coupled to the individuals own loyalties to their countries, and in Antony's case, to Caesar. In themselves these loyalties are entirely laudable but contributed significantly to the personal disasters that where to follow. In summary Antony and Cleopatra both appeared to be infatuated, and possibly in love with each other and each took their own lives in order to be together in the next world if not this. Helen Gordon Word count: 2055 ...read more.

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