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

How Shakespeare presents the character of Cleopatra in" Anthony and Cleopatra" The play of "Anthony and Cleopatra" is that of one many tragedies

Extracts from this document...


How Shakespeare presents the character of Cleopatra in" Anthony and Cleopatra" The play of "Anthony and Cleopatra" is that of one many tragedies, of which William Shakespeare famously wrote and crafted. In "Anthony and Cleopatra" Shakespeare explores the themes of love, politics and betrayal. Central to the play are dominant male figures such as Mark Anthony and the mighty Caesar Octavius. The Play centres mostly on Mark Anthony's divided love for Rome and for Cleopatra. Ironically enough, it is Cleopatra; the only dominant female in the play that maintains all power and control. Especially over Mark Anthony with Caesar Octavius at times seeming subjectable to her charms. This strange imbalance of power between Masculine brute power and Subtle feminine wiliness seems therefore somewhat of a strange anomaly in the chauvinistic society in which the play is set. In this essay I shall attempt to explore this fascinating power that Cleopatra seems to possess, how she harnesses it and how it perhaps contributes to her death. First and lasting impressions of Cleopatra are mainly centered around her extraordinary beauty. This is most notably displayed in Enobarbus's speech (Act 2, scene 2). The trance - like beauty of the scene seems to enhance the queen's superiority, as she is the epicentre of all attention. Enobarbus's speech is riddled with examples of hyperbole, exaggeration and paradoxes. ...read more.


Cleopatra is presented as a highly spoilt queen who is perfectly used to receiving what she wants, she is also highly temperamental and often violently protective over Anthony "I will give thee bloody teeth" (1.5/70) when someone attempts to compare Caesar with Anthony and she also beats the messenger, who brings her news of Anthony's and Octavia's marriage. She also seems to possess no social inhibitions "ram thy fruitful tidings in mine ears, /that long time have been barren" (2.5 /23-24) when conversing with Mardian. Shakespeare compares her to that of a "serpent of old nile" (1.5/25) she refers to herself but in this, there are obvious "Adam and eve" connotations associated with serpents, again another mythical comparison of a couple. Cleopatra as a serpent is evil, clever and she is ultimately Anthony's poison. We see at the very beginning the effect Cleopatra has had on Anthony who " have glowed like plated mars, now bend, now turn/The office and devotion of their view/Upon a tawny front"(1.1/4-6), the tawny front being of course, Cleopatra's .He is now totally changed because of his love for her, he has forgotten his responsibilities entirely " Let Rome in Tiber melt, and the wide arch/Of the ranged empire fall! Here is my space" (1.1/ 35-36). Cleopatra is presented as a force to be reckoned with, as it seems she has turned one of the most powerful men in the world in, if she were to ask it, her slave. ...read more.


and being ridiculed "some sqeaming Cleopatra boy my greatness". (5.2/220). It is my personal belief that she in fact ends her own life because she finds that nobody is worthy of killing the great Cleopatra apart from herself. It is also apparent in the play that taking your own life is seen as the nobler thing to do. It is largely possible that she did not commit suicide to be with Anthony at all, but merely to add some understated glamour to her own death. The evidence stands to reason, if Cleopatra had remained alive, she would have become no more than Caesar's trophy and if she had truly love Anthony she would have not acted in such a selfish and demanding manner. In conclusion Cleopatra is presented by Shakespeare as a cunning, resourceful and most importantly manipulative character. Her power over Anthony seems effortless as is her beauty and presence. If the play were to be more aptly named it would indeed be " Cleopatra and Anthony" not " Anthony and Cleopatra". This being because Cleopatra seems t o have acted as a catalyst in single handedly Dismantling the triumvirate. Shakespeare creates a visions of beauty and in it encapsulates what power beauty can have over even the most powerful man in the world. If not anything, Cleopatra was simply a talented actress who put her skills to considerable good use. ...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

    In this case Antony has been misinformed of his beloved's death and attempts to take his own life but messes up in the process. 'His death upon us, but not dead.' This gives the two lovers a final chance to speak, at which point Antony appears concerned about her safety

  2. How does Shakespeare present the idea of Cleopatra as a powerful character?

    but doesn't reveal her love for him unless she has to. Shakespeare again gives the audience an insight into Cleopatra's manipulative nature here, by letting them see how Cleopatra's theories are constructed and executed. Almost as if she wants to punish him and reiterate her power over him, Cleopatra tells

  1. Enobarbus describes Cleopatra as 'a wonderful piece of work' How far would you agree ...

    The petrified messenger leaves however is called back to confirm that Antony is married to Octavia. Cleopatra's mood again changes as she becomes aware that she is a queen with a appearance and qualities to uphold 'So half my Egypt were submerged and made' Her distress is reflected with the repetition of her insistent question.

  2. How does Shakespeare make the audience aware of Cleopatra's 'infinite variety' in the opening ...

    When he sees Cleopatra he is incredibly insulting towards her, 'Ah! Thou spell. Avuant!' She replies with,' why is my lord enrag'd against his love?' he continues with, 'Vanish, or I shall give thee thy deserving, and blemish Caesar's triumph.

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

    Her aggressive side is shown most prominently through her treatment of the messenger. She slaps him and even draws a knife to him because she jumps to conclusions with the information she has been given. This event has a slight comical element to it because the audience's reaction will be of shock and horror.

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

    Shakespeare makes it clear to the audience that Cleopatra is in control of the conversation even though she should have no authority on military matters. Enobarbus seems slightly scared of Cleopatra as his point about the distraction of women on the battlefield, using the metaphor of "horses and mares", is

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

    from Caesar when he says, "That thou, my brother, my competitor In top of all design, my mate in empire, Friend and companion in the front of war" Throughout the play we see Antony move frequently between Rome and Egypt more than any other character in the play.

  2. An examination of Shakespeare's treatment towards suicide between Antony, Cleopatra and Enobarbus

    Perhaps this idea meant that the play Antony and Cleopatra wasn't so much an emphasis into a tragedy but shown as a basis of something better to come out of their lives in Rome and Egypt after the wars and disloyalty of people throughout the story.

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