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

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Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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.

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