What do you find interesting about the way Shakespeare presents the character of either Antony or Cleopatra to an audience?

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What do you find interesting about the way Shakespeare presents the character of either Antony or Cleopatra to an audience?

I shall be focussing on the character of Cleopatra, because I think that out of the two major characters in the play, she is the most interesting because of the way Shakespeare portrays her. The character of Cleopatra is very unpredictable throughout the play. We see a variety of perspectives from which we see Cleopatra; this illustrates the varying understanding of her as a decadent foreign woman and a noble ruler. This shows her unique personalities in every situation that she is faced with.  The obvious quality she has is that she is seen to be very over dramatic, particularly over her love for Antony.

        In the opening scene we observe that Cleopatra does seem to be shown the dominating one in her and Anthony’s relationship as ‘if it be love indeed, tell me how much’. This shows us that Cleopatra enjoys being constantly reminded of Antony’s love for her, this could also mean that she is insecure of Antony’s feelings for her and she needs to be told for her reassurance. Cleopatra’s own words show her deception as she even pretends or seem to that she is at the mercy of words, to show that she does not mean exactly what she says. ‘Where’s Fulvia’s process? Caesar’s I would say! Both!’  Here Cleopatra is deliberately being sarcastic towards the orders of Antony. Humour is shown in the way that Cleopatra questions Antony’s every move, because she asks, ‘Why did he marry Fulvia, and not love her?’ Cleopatra’s insecurity is shown here because she feels that because Antony is married to Fulvia yet he is with her. She questions why he does not love his own wife. She feels that Antony does not love her because he does not even seem to love his own wife then how can she even think that she is loved by such a man who has no feelings for his wife. Cleopatra is also shown to be very manipulative throughout the play as she manipulates Antony into neglecting his public duty, ‘Is Caesar’s homager; else thy cheek pays shame when shrill-tongued Fulvia scolds.’ To get her own way Cleopatra uses her tactics to make Antony stay in Egypt with her. She is also seen to be manipulating because she always wants to know what state of mind Antony is in when he is not with her. ‘If you find him sad, say I am dancing, if you find him in mirth, report that I am sudden sick.’ Here Cleopatra is shown to be manipulating because in order to get Antony back to Egypt she lies to her own advantage. She knows exactly how to keep Antony, ‘in each thing give him way. Cross him nothing.’ This also implies that she is very controlling.

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Shakespeare portrays her as to be very clever with her words, in trying her very best to get her own way because she reveals herself to be a actress of great rage who fakes her illness, ‘I am sick an sullen.’ She is also very commendable in turning Antony’s word against him, ‘Oh most false love! Where be the sacred vials thou shouldst fill with sorrowful water? Now I see, I see in Fulvia’s death how mine received shall be.’ Here Antony is put in a situation where he cannot win with Cleopatra no matter what he says, because everything ...

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