William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra

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William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra Throughout the play, Antony grapples with the conflict between his love for Cleopatra and his duties to the Roman Empire. In his opening lines to Demetrius, Philo complains that Antony has abandoned the military endeavours on which his reputation is based for Cleopatra's sake. His criticism of Antony's "dotage," or stupidity, introduces a tension between reason and emotion that runs throughout the play. Antony and Cleopatra's first exchange heightens this tension, as they argue whether their love can be put into words and understood or whether it exceeds such faculties and boundaries of reason. Shakespeare has mainly concentrated with the battle between reason and emotion, rather than the triumph of one over the other. Antony vacillates between Western and Eastern sensibilities, feeling pulled by both his duty to the empire and his desire for pleasure, his want for military glory and his passion for Cleopatra. Enobarbus' speech in Act 2 sc. 2 tells the audience of Antony and Cleopatra's first encounter. Shakespeare uses simile after simile and plenty of metaphors as well for example, "like a burnished throne/the poop was beaten gold." Enobarbus tells of "Antony…invited her to supper" and he uses food imagery to try and explain how Antony felt when he looked at Cleopatra, "pays his heart for what his eyes eat only." Antony's love for Cleopatra meant that on many occasions he neglected his life in Rome. We find out the true Roman view of Antony's behaviour from Caesar and Lepidus in Act 1 sc. 4. The comments from Caesar, Antony's great rival, show his disgust when he says, "You shall find there a man who is the abstract of all faults that all men follow," meaning that Antony is seen as a role model to all young Roman men due to his previous acheivments;"Antony…when thou once was beaten from Modena, where thou slew'st Hirtius and Pansa." Caesar making such fond remarks of Antony would almost shock the audience because it is so unexpected from him. Both Lepidus and Caesar are
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