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What do you find interesting about the way Shakespeare presents the character of either Antony or Cleopatra to an audience?

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Introduction

What do you find interesting about the way Shakespeare presents the character of either Antony or Cleopatra to an audience? I shall be focussing on the character of Cleopatra, because I think that out of the two major characters in the play, she is the most interesting because of the way Shakespeare portrays her. The character of Cleopatra is very unpredictable throughout the play. We see a variety of perspectives from which we see Cleopatra; this illustrates the varying understanding of her as a decadent foreign woman and a noble ruler. This shows her unique personalities in every situation that she is faced with. The obvious quality she has is that she is seen to be very over dramatic, particularly over her love for Antony. In the opening scene we observe that Cleopatra does seem to be shown the dominating one in her and Anthony's relationship as 'if it be love indeed, tell me how much'. This shows us that Cleopatra enjoys being constantly reminded of Antony's love for her, this could also mean that she is insecure of Antony's feelings for her and she needs to be told for her reassurance. Cleopatra's own words show her deception as she even pretends or seem to that she is at the mercy of words, to show that she does not mean exactly what she says. ...read more.

Middle

Where be the sacred vials thou shouldst fill with sorrowful water? Now I see, I see in Fulvia's death how mine received shall be.' Here Antony is put in a situation where he cannot win with Cleopatra no matter what he says, because everything he does say, she has a way of twisting it round, while making false accusations to her own advantage. The most compelling aspect to Cleopatra's character is the way she demonstrates her love for Antony. Her love for him is not shown to be every genuine, but as the play progresses we see that when she hears the news of Antony's marriage to Octavia, 'The most infectious pestilence upon thee!' she strikes the messenger because he was the bearer of bad news. This exposes the loss of control by the way she treats the messenger and her tempestuous nature and this also reveals to us the true depth for her feelings towards Antony. Cleopatra is also shown to be a person who only likes to hear what she want to hear. When she sends the messenger to find out about Octavia and he comes back to report to her, she questions him on several things about her, 'Didst hear the speak? ...read more.

Conclusion

In her speech to the messenger we are lead to the impression to believe that she has betrayed Antony, but this is all part of her plan against Caesar. This shows how intelligent she is because if the way she has all her tactics worked out. There is also complexity shown in Cleopatra's character as she does the most absurd things to make Antony pay attention to her. 'Go tell him I have slain myself, say that the last I spoke was 'Antony'.' Here she is telling Mardian to go to Antony and tell him false news of her death. Her action her is done without any thinking on her behalf, as she does not think about what the consequences may be and what effect the news will have on Antony. As the audience, we see that Cleopatra fails to recognise how much love Antony has for her. The part of her character that I find most appealing is how Cleopatra dies for her lover, Antony. This action proves how much she had for him, as she could not go on living without Antony after his death. Overall, analysing Cleopatra's character, she behaves childishly and is very over dramatic, nevertheless her charisma and strength makes her Shakespeare's most strongest, inspiring female characters. ...read more.

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