How does Shakespeare use language to convey Enobarbus's wonder at Cleopatra nd her effect on the environment and Antony ?

Authors Avatar

How does Shakespeare use language to convey Enobarbus’s wonder at Cleopatra and her effect on her environment and on Antony?

Antony and Cleopatra is an historical tragedy by William Shakespeare first performed in the early 1600’s. Cleopatra, one of the most seductive women of all time, renowned for her allure was Queen of Egypt and a lover of Julius Ceasar. She was very aware of her beauty and used it to toy with many men. One of these was Mark Antony – a Roman leader and one of the Triumvirates (one of three rulers of Rome alongside Julius Ceasar). At the time Egypt was under Roman rule having been conquered by their great armies. In Act Two, Scene Two Enobarbus is sitting at a table with two other Roman men (Agrippa and Mecaenas). They are both confused and curious as to Antony’s behaviour around Cleopatra. Enobarbus is attempting to explain why Antony appears to be acting like a fool rather than as a leader of Rome.

Enobarbus makes it quite clear that, in his opinion, Antony fell in love with Cleopatra the first moment he laid eyes on her, “She pursed up his heart upon the river of Cydnus.” Her “triumphant” demeanour appears to have captivated Antony even before they had met and Enobarbus conveys that wonder through his vivid language.

Join now!

Through Enobarbus Shakespeare conveys to the audience that she is a regal and powerful woman, “The barge she sat in, like a burnish’d throne, burn’d on the water . . . purple the sails.”  The sight of luxury and royalty would have had an amorous effect on the poor people of Egypt as they were not used to seeing such things. The references to heat i.e. burn’d, to which the Egyptians were very used to with the sun beating down each day, conveys the fact that Cleopatra is hot i.e. sexy and exotic. It also gives me the impression ...

This is a preview of the whole essay