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Analysis of Sexism Displayed in Antony and Cleopatra

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Reading Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare one finds a borderline love story that exists in the easy to define plot. But digging deeper brings up the many inside battles that are raging on throughout this story. East vs. west in the ruling styles and culture of Julius Caesar and Cleopatra. How Egypt and Rome represents men vs. women and the sexism that Shakespeare creates for Cleopatra and Antony. Whether there is no doubt that these things exist, taking them into further analysis may bring up the real controversy behind Shakespeare’s famous tragedy.
East vs. west, the historical question of which one is best, this question is impossible to answer but one can analyse the strengths and weaknesses of each. East is represented by Rome and it’s ruler, Julius Caesar while the west is represented by Queen Cleopatra. Caesar’s Rome is military ruled and honor bound. “Let's do it after the high Roman fashion, And make death proud to take us.” (Shakespeare 4.15.88) That quote is from Cleopatra herself which shows even her admiration for the rules and honor bound Roman people. Now egypt and Cleopatra are more luxury based with fashion and glamour ruling supreme in the eyes of Cleopatra. “For her own person, It beggar'd all description. She did lie In her pavilion, cloth-of-gold, of tissue, O'er Picturing that Venus where we see the fancy outwork nature.” (Shakespeare 2.2.191) The differences of these two powers are also their strengths Rome uses military force, rules, honor, and duty. Egypt is grandeur, luxury, passion, and power achieved by Cleopatra’s persuasive charm. “Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
Her infinite variety. Other women cloy the appetites they feed, but she makes hungry where most she satisfies. For viles...

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... His pitting of men vs women, nation vs nation, and even fact vs fiction creates a storyline that works people into sides of nation or sex. Caesar was strict, honor based while Cleopatra was devious, emotion based. The same can be said for the places that they rule both Rome and Egypt reflect the qualities of their potentates. All leads up the the final controversy of men vs women and that Shakespeare obviously believed that men were the dominant gender and that women in power would lead to mans downfall.

Works Cited

Flamarion, Edith. Cleopatra: the life and death of a pharaoh. New York: Abrams Books, 1997. Print.
Rose, Mary Beth. Essays on Dramatic Traditions: Challenges and Transmissions. Evanston:
Northwestern University Press, 1990. Print.
Shakespeare, William. Shakespeare: The Complete Works. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich,
Publishers, NA. Print.
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