Nadia El Tayar English A1 Higher
March 18, 2003 Mr. Heery
Enobarbus’ discourse in Act II Scene 2 of Shakespeare’s
“Antony and Cleopatra” & TS. Eliot’s poem “A Game of Chess”
The particularity about these two passages is that although written centuries apart, they reflect each other through language, subject matter and universality. The verse “The Chair she sat in, like a burnished throne, glowed on the marble” from TS. Eliot’s poem A Game of Chess has long been acknowledged as a direct allusion to Enobarbus’ description of the genuine and natural Cleopatra in Act II Scene 2 of Shakespeare’s tragedy Antony and Cleopatra. Likewise, I believe that the verse “O’erpicturing that Venus where we see the fancy outwork nature,” from Shakespeare’s play can be interpreted as being an inspiration to TS. Eliot’s creation of the materialistic and artificial woman in his poem.
Indeed, a major similarity between these two passages is that although they are both essentially about a woman, in neither passage is the woman really described. It is rather the woman’s milieu and her effect on her surroundings that are described in great depth and detail. This makes the setting and the atmosphere of the two passages key to the understanding of whom each woman is, since they are the reader’s only source of information concerning her. Therefore, instead of being directly and explicitly described, each woman gradually and implicitly takes shape in the reader’s mind as the details of her effects and influences on her surroundings are revealed.