Antony & Cleopatra - language

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In Act 1 scene 3 lines 13-56, what do we learn about Antony and Cleopatra’s characters?         In Antony and Cleopatra, Shakespeare uses rich, poetic language; this not only provides a source of visual pleasure for the audience as it is a play; but also acts as a means of defining the various characters, particularly Antony and Cleopatra, the protagonists. In the scene being analysed, the tone, hyperbole language and imagery gives the reader an insight into the characters as well as their affection for one another. ‘If you find him sad, Say I am dancing; if in mirth, report’. From the outset of the scene, Cleopatra’s language and tone of voice depicts her character to the reader as very clever, yet volatile with a bizarre lack of confidence, ‘I shall fall’ illustrates her dependence and need for stability and security. The melodrama also portrays her crave for attention, especially that from Antony, and her egotistic rush for power and recognition. The reader also perceives Antony as the eponymous, tragic hero, who is allowing his love for Cleopatra to cloud his judgement. His short rushed sentences, ‘Now, my dearest queen’ in reply to her demands reiterate this judgement of character, he is reassuring her, and trying to placate her as he doesn’t want a scene.         The scene is almost a microcosm of the entire play; it miniaturises fundamental themes, and sets the atmosphere for the rest of the play. It also immediately gives the reader a sense of the characters personalities and future plots. This
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is firstly a result of the heavily laden evocative language. At the beginning of the scene being analysed, Cleopatra's character is being portrayed as manipulative, confrontational and argumentative. From her exaggerated language, ‘Nay, pray you seek no colour for your going, but bid farewell and go’, the reader can depict that she is endlessly in a sly attempt to win Antony’s affections. Also, the imperative nouns she uses shows she feels she is superior as Queen and extremely important, and it also portrays how demanding as a character she is. Pronouns such as ‘I’ and ‘her’ are used frequently by ...

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