Discuss the Ways Shakespeare Presents the Differences Between Rome and Egypt in 'Antony and Cleopatra'.

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Discuss the Ways Shakespeare Presents the Differences Between Rome and Egypt in ‘Antony and Cleopatra’.

Rome and Egypt are the two main locations where ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ are set, these two countries are represented very differently within the play. Shakespeare uses characters, language, mood and themes to represent the differences of the countries. The contrast of these two countries is what drives the main plot of the play. Rome is the west and is portrayed as political, strict and masculine where as Egypt, the east, is portrayed as feminine, mysterious and passionate.

Egypt is the country which Shakespeare makes his audience warm to. Egypt is an ancient civilisation which is colourful, warm and exotic. Egyptians live life to the full and enjoy socialising, partying, sex and wining and dining.

 ‘Bring in the banquet quickly; wine enough Cleopatra’s health to drink.’

 This is shown through the character of Cleopatra who is the queen of Egypt and one of the few female characters in the play. As she is the queen of Egypt, her seductive, warm personality reflects on her positive country and citizens.

‘I’th’East my pleasures lies.’

Throughout the play the word Egypt, is regularly referred to the queen showing they are one and depend on each other.  

‘Then bid adieu to me, and say the tears belong to Egypt.’

Rome is presented as strict, hierarchical and hostile. Romans are ordered,

and political. It is a very masculine country which is ruled by males. The harsh characteristics of Rome are shown through one of its three triumvirs- Caesar. Caesar is the youngest triumvir and is the most powerful as he will soon be the future of Rome.

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‘The scarce –bearded Caesar’

There is no gender equality in Rome, they do not value females, they are seen as inferior to males which adds to the negative image we are given on Rome. An example of this is when Caesar willingly offers his sister, Octavia, up for marriage to a fellow triumvir for his own political reasons. He disregards her say on the matter and she has no choice but to follow his orders.

‘A sister I bequeath you whom no brother did ever love her so dearly.’

‘Sister prove such a wife…’

 As all the ...

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