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Content Introduction----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1 Plays Analysis------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1 Analysis of main characters, Antony and Cleopatra-------------------------------- 3 Love and Lust--------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 6 Enter the

Lovers------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 7 Reunion in Death----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 7 Conclusion ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 9

Introduction The play of Antony and Cleopatra was written in 1606, and is mainly set in their respective worlds of Rome and Egypt. Antony and Cleopatra, like Shakespeares other plays was written to be performed on the Jacobean Stage. In Shakespeares time there was a lack of scenery and stage props, but he compensated with his use of language that he gave to the audience, to assist them, bring to life the characters, plot and the setting in their own minds. One of the most famous love stories by William Shakespeare, the love saga of Antony and Cleopatra is a truly a fable of worshipping your beloved. Antony and Cleopatra epitomize that love is another name for sacrifice. Their love story is among the most tragic ones, where both the lovers die instead of living happily ever after. Antony and Cleopatra is among the most popular plays by Shakespeare. Enmeshed in the spirit of undying love, the tragic love story of Antony and Cleopatra is an example for all the modern lovers. It teaches them about selflessness in love and giving the ultimate sacrifice for a loved one. In order to analyse how Shakespeare uses imagery to describe Antony and his world of Rome, and Cleopatra and her world of Egypt, it is necessary to look at how he breathes life into their larger than life personalities by the use of powerful, vivid language.

Plays Analysis Shakespeare does not dally with theatrical conventions of lengthy exposition. Almost immediately we are introduced to the two lovers, who are clearly passionate lovers. There is only a modicum of introduction as the play opens. Briefly, two of Antony's friends discuss their general's infatuation with Cleopatra They describe Antony as if he had undergone some strange sort of metamorphosis; it seems to them that his eyes, which once looked upon battlefields, "now bend, now turn / The office and devotion of their view / Upon a tawny front." His soldier's heart is no longer courageous; instead, it "reneges all temper / And is become the bellows and the fan / To cool a gypsy's lust."

After Antony and Cleopatra have made their entrance, it is clear that Antony has indeed let himself be seduced body and soul by Cleopatra's sensuality and charm. It is also clear that the Romans in general dislike Cleopatra, in spite of her legendary ability to enchant males or perhaps because of it. This prejudiced view toward Cleopatra is developed throughout the play, but as we will see, Shakespeare was not content to present her as only a one-dimensional character; she is more than merely a sensual woman who happens to rule an entire country. As Antony and Cleopatra talk, both of them use exaggerated language to swear that their love is greater than any other love in the world; their love, they believe, is more than this world can hold. This is not idle overstatement, for their intense love for one another will be the cause of their deaths. Time and again in the play this key idea will be emphasized: love and the worlds of politics and war belong in separate spheres and can never coalesce or merge. The central theme of this play is exactly that love vs. war and Shakespeare will weave this theme in and out of the action as the play progresses. By the end of the tragedy, it will seem as if the concept of war has won, but we should not be too hasty to come to that decision. Upon reflection, we will see that the final act of this play is ambiguous. It is possible that love may finally be the victor after all. In this act, however, Shakespeare's emphasis is clearly on Antony's current displeasure with political matters. The messenger who has come with a letter from Rome gives Cleopatra a chance to tease Antony that he is dominated by Octavius Caesar, a much younger man. Her motive is to goad Antony into declaring his independence of Rome and she succeeds, for Antony retorts that "kingdoms are clay; our dungy earth alike / Feeds beast as man." Impetuously, he denies that Rome and the concerns of the political arena have any hold on him. Here, we should note his choice of words: Antony says that the earth is "dungy" and that kingdoms "melt" like mud into the rivers of the world. This comparison is ironically striking when we consider the "earthy" (sensual) interest for which he is forsaking Rome.

Antony thus reveals how malleable he really is, for Cleopatra clearly delights in toying with his vacillating passions. She teases him that since he has been unfaithful to his wife by becoming involved with her, it is quite likely that he will be unfaithful to her one day. Antony, of course, vehemently denies such a speculation. Here, he is willful and self-indulgent, and he is certainly fickle. We initially see him perhaps at his worst. Later, Shakespeare's dramatic portrait of him will be enlarged and will be developed in detail, stature, and complexity. As for portraying Cleopatra, the Egyptian queen, Shakespeare remains faithful to the popular image of Cleopatra as the strumpet queen, so to speak, but he suggests that she, like Antony, is more complex than one might initially suppose. On one hand, she is a coquette who manipulates Antony so skillfully that he does what she wants. On the other, she emotionally needs to have Antony tell her how much he loves her; she needs to have him affirm for her that nothing else matters as much as their love. This clearly reveals a certain amount of insecurity on her part, and in that sense, it is quite possible that she has a genuine, if momentary, feeling of sympathy for Antony's wife; she can see herself in the same position that is, Antony loves her now, but she can envision losing him later to another woman. Analysis of main characters, Antony and Cleopatra Antony is a powerful character. His power is shown through height imagery, which is important to him as height represents status, authority and achievement. Antony is a determined and aware character who realises that he needs to be in a strong, high position to secure his success. Antonys struggle for height and rank is shown through his power struggle with Octavius, Sit, sit sir, as neither character wants to sit down first, as this will show that he is the weakest. We can also link the lower imagery with falling, as Antony begins to physically sit down, he begins to be defeated. It not only shows his loss of position but also his loss of self-belief. We can also see the height and rising imagery brought together through Cleopatras attempt to raise Ant ony to immortality; We must draw thee up. When Antony is dying, Cleopatra praises his character, The greatest prince oth the world, the noblest, and believes that he should

be raised up in death as he used to be in life when he was powerful. Also, by raising Antony from the Earth, she is taking him away from his troubles and failures to be amongst God to resume his status, she is almost giving him back, what she had caused him to lose. The imagery used to depict Antony really brings his character to life. It shows his change from a God-like triumvir to a lovesick hedonist through Cleopatras influence. Like all tragic heroes Antony has flaws in his character, he enjoys the luxury and the soft, sensual life, of Cleopatras court, but his biggest flaw is Cleopatra. He is bewitched by her beauty, intelligence, sexuality and her sense of fun. His character flaws make his tragic end seem so inevitable and does not evoke sympathy in the end from the audience. Cleopatra is the dramatically, enchanting Queen of Egypt as well as the queen of Antonys heart. Her dramatic, extravagant mood swings, makes her character enjoyable to watch, The most infectious pestilence upon thee! Strikes him down, and her magnificent ability to charm any man who sets eyes on her, T hat she did make defect perfection. Cleopatra is a fine actress who enjoys dressing up as famous goddesses to attract the attention of men, Oer-picturing that Venus, which the mythological imagery helps to show the godly, dramatic, magnificent side of her character. She also does this to show the power she has, In the habiliment of the goddess Isis, which shows she has a lot of confidence and pride in herself. Go fetch my best attines: I am again for Cyndus to meet Mark Antony, the imagery here sho ws that even in death, Cleopatra is desperate to look enchanting. It is as if she is going to recreate their first meeting in their spiritual world, hoping that this time it will last. The irony of Cleopatra dressing up as Venus before she commits suicide, is that she dies a bride and it is almost as if she is ready to trap Antony in the spiritual world, As I draw thee up, Ill think everyone an Antony and say Ah ha! Yare caught, which is linked to the serpent imagery. Cleopatra has had many lovers and is sexually experienced. Food is like sex a natural appetite. Spark notes, Which she indulges in a lot. Food imagery is associated with Cleopatra as it a pleasurable activity, - like she is for Antony. But she makes hungry where she most satisfies, but like food, too much of her is dangerous.

Antony uses food imagery to insult Cleopatra and to express his disgust in her, I found you a monsel cold upon dead Caesars trencher, nay you were a fragment of cruel Pompeys. This informs the audience of Cleopatras past and that she has worked her alluring powers on other powerful men all of which were taken in by her, like Antony. Here we also see that Cleopatra is a clever woman, who uses the only thing she has to survive in a male-dominated world her ability to evoke love from powerful men. We also see that Cleopatra has a famous history with Julius Caesar, She made Caesar lay his sword to bed: he ploughed her and she cropped. This derogatory sexual image again reinforces the idea that she has to be in a sexual relationship with powerful men to survive. Cleopatras status relies on her ability to attract the desire of great men. This means she has to be passionate, The silken tackle swell with the touches of these flower soft hands, and desirable, Purple the sails and so perfumed that the minds were lovesick with them, as well as magical, which shown through her mythological imagery. She is also a great actress and is described as being famous for making spectacular entrances, which are very important to her as they caught the attention of all that were close, Her people out upon her. When she first met Mark Antony, she pursed up his heart, upon the river Cyndus, This again reinforces her enchanting and entrapping appearance. She appears as rich to present the idea of royalty to help her attract the attention of powerful men, The barge she sat in like a burnished throne burned on the water, and it would seem that she was an amazing woman. Her entrances are sensuous and enchanting much like she is, attracting all the senses. Cleopatra does this to evoke the feeling of burning desire within Antony, which makes her irresistible to him. From this image we can understand how she appeared and why Antony was so attracted to her and also that she was a very manipulative woman who made all situations work to her best advantage. Cleopatra is manipulative and argumentative, fie wrangling Queen, all of which she uses to stay in control with Antony, which is probably why she is referred to as the serpent. Where is my serpent of old Nile for so he calls me, presents the image that Cleopatra is deceitful, evil and temptuous as these are the things that snakes are

associated with. This imagery also echoes the idea that she likes to trap her men. Cleopatra is like a snake, as once they have their victim they are in total control until the victim is destroyed, much like Antony by her. All of the serpent imagery in the play is associated with evil and destruction of things. So half my Egypt were submerged an d made a cistern for scales snakes, which not only makes it appear that is related to the end of all good things but also reminds us that she dies by a poisonous Asp at her breast. Cleopatras character also represents Egypt and the exotic with its sensuo us, fun, magical lifestyle with Antony and the Roman, logical realistic beliefs, the total opposite. The values of Rome and Egypt were in complete contrast to each other. Antony and Cleopatra seemed to symbolise these values. In the end Antony abandons his Roman duties for his love of Cleopatra, but he is still proud to be Roman, A Roman by a Roman, valiantly vanquished.

Love and Lust Antony and Cleopatra begins with an outsiders perspective (Philo, one of Antonys friends from Rome), which prepares the audience to view the love between Antony and Cleopatra in the context of lust. In 1.1, Philo and Demetrius, another of Antonys friends, discuss what Philo calls this dotage of our generals. Philo recalls Antonys prowess in battle, which he believes is now wasted on Antonys devotion to Cleopatras tawny front. He suggests that Antony has lost all self -control by becoming the bellows and the fan to cool a gypsys lust. This imagery of Cleopatras inner fire also occurs elsewhere in the play, such a s Enobarbus description of the pretty dimpled boys fanning Cleopatra on her golden barge, whose wind did seem to glow the delicate cheeks which they did cool, and what they undid did. Philos introduction to the relationship between Antony and Cleopat ra emphasizes Antonys susceptibility to Cleopatras lust, and the conflict between Antonys passion and his duty as a Roman general.

Enter the Lovers The entrance of the lovers in 1.1 seems to confirm Philos assessment of Antonys evasion of his military duty and his depiction of Antony as a strumpets fool. Antony does not want to hear the messenger from Rome, and it is clear that he is neglecting his military and civic duties: Let Rome in Tiber melt, and the wide arch of the ranged empire fall! Moreover, only Antony makes clear statements of his love for Cleopatra in this scene, whereas Cleopatra seems to be playing with Antony and enjoying his admiration. For example, when the lovers first enter, Cleopatra teases Antony, wanting him to tell her how much he loves her and disregarding his romantic overtures. However, when Antony returns to Rome because of Fulvias death, and is thus forced to choose duty over his passion for Cleopatra, Cleopatras love for Antony becomes clear. Cleopatras first reaction to the news of Fulvias death is disapproval of Antonys lack of sorrow, which she perceives as an indication of how Antony would receive her own death. Yet, as the scene progresses, Cleopatra softens and reveals her love for Antony and her grief over their imminent separation: Sir, you and I must part, but thats not it: Sir, you and I have loved, but theres not itO, my oblivion is a very Antony, and I am all forgotten. Reunion in Death Despite the love Antony and Cleopatra share, their relationship often takes a dark turn. For example, the news of Antonys marriage to Octavia sends Cleopatra into a violent rage. She strikes the messenger who brings her the news, cursing him as a horrible villain, and threatening to whip him with wire and stew him in brine. Antonys jealousy takes a similar form when he sees Thidias, a messenger from Octavius, kissing Cleopatras hand. This scene takes place after Antonys humiliating flight from the sea battle against Octavius, and Thidias has been sent to present the conquering Caesars terms to Cleopatra. Antony enters just as Thidias is kissing the queens hand, and flies into a rage, ordering that Thidias be whipped and almost calling Cleopatra a whore. In this reprimand, Antony reveals his anxiety about Cleopatras sexual freedom.

Antony also falsely believes that he has been betrayed by his lover, in particular, that Cleopatra has betrayed him in war and joined forces with Octavius. His reaction to her apparent betrayal is anger and he refers again to her sexua lity, calling her a tripleturned whore, a gypsy and a witch, and vowing to kill her for her duplicity. However, his mood quickly changes in 4.14 to a profound sadness at what he perceives to be the loss of his great love: Here I am Antony, yet cannot hold this visible shape, my knave. I made these wars for Egypt; and the Queen--Whose heart I thought I had, for she had mine. It seems that Antony is diminished by the loss of Cleopatras love, as if he feels that he is nothing without her. When Mardian brings the fictitious news of Cleopatras death, Cleopatras plan to win back her lover backfires; Antony is grief-stricken and vows to take his own life in order to be reunited with her again, despite his belief that she betrayed him: Where souls do couch on flowers, well hand in hand, and with our sprightly port make the ghosts gaze; Dido and her Aeneas shall want troops, and all the haunt be ours. Although it takes Eros suicide to give Antony the courage to take his own life, his vow to overtake Cleopatra and weep for her pardon emphasizes his grief and his love for her and promises of their eternal union in death. Once Antony dies, unfortunately Cleopatra is not as eager to take her own life until her knowledge that Caesar intends to take her to Rome and humiliate her there drives her to take action. Yet, her love for Antony and her belief in their impending reunion, a kind of divine marriage, are evident: Methinks I hear Antony callHusband, I come: Now to that name my courage prove my title!



As Cleopatra is Egypt, Rome is represented by Caesar, with Antony torn between both worlds, but it is Rome, the modern world which triumphs in the end. When Antony is dead, Cleopatra has nothing else to live for. She acknowledges his death as noble, and she knows that she must now do the same as he did, and end her life honorably rather than lose all honor and succumb to Caesar. She hopes that Antony is watching her perform this act, and calls to him to watch her noble death and to wait for her in the afterlife. These two protagonists are tragic figures that died, with their tragedy being of their making. Their characters are very much human as they are well rounded and we can sometimes see ourselves in them. They had to die because, they came from two different worlds and neither would have survived in the others world. Antony and Cleopatra escape to their own spiritual world, as they will exist forever in the world of great lovers. So, it is not only Rome that triumphs, Antony and Cleopatra too is triumphant as they will be together, forever, and will live for eternity on stage.


Literature used Shakespeare, William. Antony and Cleopatra. 2nd ed. Gen. Ed. Sylvan Barnet. New York: Signet, 1998. http://festivals.iloveindia.com/valentines-day/famous-love-stories/antony-cleopatra.html