An exploration of Shakespeare's use of imagery in 'Antony and Cleopatra'

Authors Avatar

An exploration of Shakespeare’s use of imagery in ‘Antony and Cleopatra’

In ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ Shakespeare uses a wide range of imagery. These forms of

imagery includes: mythological characters, the elements, food and the lunar cycle. In

this essay I will be exploring this imagery to suggest its intended purpose to display

relationships, the Roman and Egyptian empires and power of the characters.

Shakespeare compares Antony to Mars the god of War and Cleopatra to Venus.

Shakespeare uses this type of imagery because the Elizabethan audience would have

known the myths and legends that surround these gods.

“Have glowed like plated Mars.”

This is how Philo introduces us to the play and Antony. Philo is a dramatic device that

gives the audience a strong impression of how Romans viewed Antony. With this

simile he is showing how Antony used to be a frightening and powerful figure.

“Now bend now turn.”

The subject of this imagery is how he has changed his focus from military leadership

 to his private passion, Cleopatra and the life style of indulgence, which is essentially

what Egypt represents in the play.

Enobarbus also refers to Antony using Mars,

“Speak as loud as Mars”

This shows Antony like Mars was respected for the power of his brazen voice and

wise words, which was heard throughout Rome. This shows Anthony’s character

before he met Cleopatra and how he was highly respected. Shakespeare compares

Join now!

Antony and Cleopatra to mythological gods because it highlights their features in

Cleopatra’s case her overwhelming beauty and in Antony his power to rule.

Shakespeare uses Enobarbus to convey an objective point of view and also to move

time forward.

Antony is also described as

“The Demi-Atlas of this earth and

Burgonet of men”

The triumvir ruled Rome. This metaphore conveys to the audience that even though Antony is now lovesick fool he was once a powerful and feared man. This is ironic because we later find out that Antony’s ...

This is a preview of the whole essay