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In the play "Antony and Cleopatra", the character of Cleopatra is one of many dimensions and she can be seen a person of complex diversity.

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Introduction

In the play "Antony and Cleopatra", the character of Cleopatra is one of many dimensions and she can be seen a person of complex diversity. Her personality is implied to the reader that Cleopatra takes life as one big celebration most of her time in Egypt. Cleopatra loves the richness of her own queen status and loves the celebration that comes with it. Her personality varies because she can change from being a woman with dignity to a playful woman. Her sudden changes in behaviour are often difficult to predict or comprehend and happen frequently throughout the play. The audience can never guess what Cleopatra is going to do next. This is why Enobarbus observes that Cleopatra has 'infinite variety'. Whether it is an accurate observation is what people question when looking at the famous Enobarbus speech of Cleopatra, is the question. When looking at Enobarbus, because he is Roman, he may have put his feeling across in the speech for political reasons, for example to be in a favourable position in Antony's views, and yet this speech is rich and almost Egyptian in its sentiment. He disapproves of Cleopatra in principle, yet is overcome by her appearance on the barge. His appreciation of Egypt and its queen, together with his wit and humour make him the perfect vehicle for the exotic description of Cleopatra given to his peers from Caesars entourage. But she deserves this famous tribute from Enobarbus for many reasons. ...read more.

Middle

"I am quickly ill and well, so Antony loves"(1.3.72-73) Cleopatra is playing with Antony here because if her 'illness' does not keep him in Egypt, her accusation that his love is fickle will. She can maintain this by acting and making situations a drama when actually situations are not as bad as they are, therefore making her accusations of herself being ill, are false. Before Antony arrives Charmian tells Cleo that she should not play games with Antony if she loves Antony. On arrival Antony replies to her is as if he is trying to calm her down but this still shows that Cleopatra has got a very strong hold of Antony because he always answers to her demands. 'Now my dearest queen' however this time he does not meet to her demands and say that he is going to leave her. Cleopatra is not so ill because she keeps on talking and manipulating, reminding him about the past. She is trying to make him feel guilty so he will not leave her. This reveals Cleopatra to be selfish and what she wants is what she gets. She even mocks Antony about fertility "I would I had thy inches. Thou shouldst know there were a heart in Egypt"and the affair they had. She is pretending to feel sorry for Fulvia to manipulate Antony. Dramatic irony is used within the play. Cleopatra says that Antony has been lying, when ironically she is the one who is lying about her illness. ...read more.

Conclusion

She sees many snakes and sees them as her prey, like her 'beloved Antony'. She sees them all as her Antony. She loves the chase and catch of life, like she does with Antony. Cleopatra always uses snakes to her advantage. She even uses snakes to commit suicide at the end of the play. "Come thou mortal wretch, Be angry and dispatch" (Act 5 scene 2) At the end of the play she uses her considerable skills and charm to retain control of her country. When that fails she chooses death rather than humiliation. Although Enobarbus' speech about Cleopatra may be lyrical and hyperbolic and the reader may not believe his observation for many reasons, in the play there are many varieties in which are within Cleopatra. These include her use of playing games to get what she wants, how she is compared to snakes within the play, the way she loves drama and acting, her need to fill her satisfaction and the genuine side of Cleopatra, her true feelings for Antony. These varieties show that Cleopatra has infinite variety and she uses it accordingly when the time is appropriate. Sometimes these variations within her can bring out the vilest things in her which she does not realise she is doing until after the event like when she betrayed Antony. Cleopatra's 'Infinite Variety' embodies the theme of change. The play has constant movement. The fortunes of the characters and countries shift continually. From finding out that Cleopatra has many variations of her personality, that Enobarbus' observation of Cleopatra is an accurate one because she has infinite variety within her personality. ?? ?? ?? ?? Jessica Giles 7th March 2005 Page 1 ...read more.

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