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How does Shakespeare use language to convey Enobarbus's wonder at Cleopatra nd her effect on the environment and Antony ?

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Introduction

How does Shakespeare use language to convey Enobarbus's wonder at Cleopatra and her effect on her environment and on Antony? Antony and Cleopatra is an historical tragedy by William Shakespeare first performed in the early 1600's. Cleopatra, one of the most seductive women of all time, renowned for her allure was Queen of Egypt and a lover of Julius Ceasar. She was very aware of her beauty and used it to toy with many men. One of these was Mark Antony - a Roman leader and one of the Triumvirates (one of three rulers of Rome alongside Julius Ceasar). At the time Egypt was under Roman rule having been conquered by their great armies. In Act Two, Scene Two Enobarbus is sitting at a table with two other Roman men (Agrippa and Mecaenas). They are both confused and curious as to Antony's behaviour around Cleopatra. Enobarbus is attempting to explain why Antony appears to be acting like a fool rather than as a leader of Rome. Enobarbus makes it quite clear that, in his opinion, Antony fell in love with Cleopatra the first moment he laid eyes on her, "She pursed up his heart upon the river of Cydnus." ...read more.

Middle

Cleopatra creates atmosphere merely by being so beautiful and rich, "and so perfumed that the winds were love-sick with them." The smell from the perfumed sails would have resonated in people's nostrils. They would know when she was approaching and when she had previously been purely by the smell. Through Enobarbus Shakespeare conveys his sense of awe at her appearance through both her posture and her clothes, "She did lie in her pavilion - cloth of gold of tissue." By lying down she conveyed the position of master over slaves, wanting for nothing and reemphasising her power. Comparing her clothes to tissue conveyed that they were flimsy and possibly see-through, which would have made her very sexy and alluring. Also, comparing Cleopatra to Venus, the Roman God of love, holds her in the same vein as a god, "O'er picturing that Venus where we see the fancy outwork nature." Agrippa appears to act in a jealous way, "O, rare for Antony!" as if suggesting that the Roman leader was extremely fortunate to be receiving Cleopatra's attention. ...read more.

Conclusion

He is also intrigued by the fact that everyone has gone to see Cleopatra's arrival rather than going to greet him. Enobarbus informs us that Cleopatra once hopped through the streets, "I saw her once hop forty paces and having lost her breath, she spoke and panted, that she did make defect perfection and breathless, power breathe forth." He conveys to us that she is a beautiful and sexy queen - and she knows it! This is clearly demonstrated in the way that she teases Antony both in her behaviour and by the fact that she refuses his invitation (a girl had never said no to a Roman warlord before). She is truly a "Royal Wench"! In this short piece of writing Shakespeare clearly uses Enobarbus to convey Cleopatra's wonder and the effect this has on the environment and Antony. Despite the fact that in Shakespeare's time language was the only tool available to create special effects, he uses this so well that the reader is transported back in time and made to feel that he was actually there experiencing the vivid colours and great detail. The words appear to bring the story to life and captivate the reader. Johnathan Barker 1st Draft as at 12/12/2006 ...read more.

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