Shakespeares Antony and Cleopatra.

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However, as Act 1 progresses, arguments between the pair become much more frequent and it becomes obvious their relationship is not always a happy one. The topic of Antony’s wife, Fulvia, causes much disruption between the pair, and following news of her death in Scene 2, Cleopatra still finds it hard to believe that Antony truly loves her, and is slightly hostile toward him. At one point she says “O, my oblivion is a very Antony”, suggesting she is extremely insecure. Examples of this throughout the act suggest that Cleopatra is very fragile, especially when Antony is concerned. Antony’s behaviour suggests he is a very unsure person, who is constantly two-minded about what he should be doing. Part of the reason for this is his split in loyalty; he would ask himself the question of where his priority lies, with Cleopatra, the woman he says he loves, or with his Pietus, his loyalty to Rome. The split is revealed during his oxymoron, after he hears of Fulvia’s death during Scene 2, in which he states “I must from this enchanting queen break off”, showing that while he never shows it to the other characters, he does feel a need to fulfil his duty in Rome.

Both Antony and Cleopatra’s relationship with other characters in Act 1 give an insight into their personalities and lives. Cleopatra will go from being nice to her servants and eunuchs to being cruel to them in an extremely quick transition. Whereas Antony will not tend to engage in conversation with any of the Egyptian servants, but will however acknowledge Enobarbus (a Roman) a lot, perhaps showing his mind is still at Rome after all. Cleopatra shows a minor friendship for her servants when she confides in them once Antony has left, in Scene 5, however she shows her spiteful side when she bullies Mardian because he is sexually inactive, she says “I take no pleasure in aught a Eunuch has”, meaning she isn’t interested in him because he has been castrated, a particularly cruel attack. The fact that sometimes Cleopatra is nice to her companions and sometimes isn’t is a sign that she has a very split personality, often depending on Antony’s whereabouts and actions, for example, when Antony is on scene with her, she will act uninterested and an argument will frequently ensue, but when he is not there, Cleopatra changes completely, almost talking as though she is level with her female servants like Charmian.

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Antony rarely engages in conversation with any character other than Cleopatra or Enobarbus, although he will speak to messengers in order to get news from Rome, his true home, a signal that his Pietus and leadership are still very much present in his mind, a fact he never admits to Cleopatra, possibly because of her dominance over him. Antony’s failure to communicate with Cleopatra’s servants and eunuchs suggest that he does not wish to appear disloyal to Rome. Also, the fact that the first person he confides in upon hearing of Fulvia’s death is Enobarbus, showing he feels he ...

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