preview

William Shakespeare's Presentation of Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra

William Shakespeare's Presentation of Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra The presentation of Cleopatra in Act three Scene thirteen is quite ambiguous. Her presentation in the rest of the play is also very contrasting and distinct. I believe Shakespeare concentrated on demonstrating Cleopatra's personality and ambiguity to emphasise that, being the only central female in the play, it is even more surprising that she manages to act the way she does, with such an alarming range of emotions, for example forging illness for attention and accusing Antony of leaving Egypt for the wrong reasons. I think that Shakespeare wanted her character to be spontaneous, dramatic and attractive towards men so that the audience would build up very strong opinions of her, whether they are good or bad. Throughout the play so far, Cleopatra has been presented as a very confident woman who adores playing numerous tricks with Antony. By Shakespeare creating the sense that Cleopatra controls Antony through her witty actions and words, it re-enforces her role in the novel as an independent, slightly deceitful woman. (1.1.14) 'If it be love indeed, tell me how much', this displays Cleopatra's clear determination in wanting to know how she is thought of by Antony. Shakespeare presents Cleopatra like this to prove that both her image and personality are very important to her because she is so desperate to know what Antonys opinion of her is. Here, Shakespeare's presentation of Cleopatra highlights her unique female qualities in a way that represents women throughout the play and Cleopatra as an individual. I believe this works well because the other main chara... ... middle of paper ... ... is repetition of certain features relating to collapsing and melting. (90.3.13) 'Authority melts from me', spoken by Antony, suggests that things arre gradually slipping away and eveything is falling apart. Overall, the way in which Cleopatra is presented by Shakespeare, through metaphors, form and language amongst other devices is very clear and portrays the feelings that he intended to show. I think Shakespeare has presented Cleopatra very carefully and has taken into account the stereotypical female life in the time that it was set. The characters are only creations designed to make an impression and although they are only this, Shakespeare has made them very impressionable and I think it gradually becomes clear that Cleopatra must use her female charms to survive and have any power in a male-dominated place.
Get Access