“Heaven help the American-born boy with a talent for ballet”
– Camille Paglia
The prim and proper women and the strong and strapping men are no match for Shakespeare’s haze of character’s muddled together in Antony and Cleopatra. As always Shakespeare delivers a luminary cast of individuals that deviate from the socially accepted gender roles. As the audience works its way through the fierce genesis to the catastrophic resolution, it is made more than apparent that lines are being crossed all over society’s conformist board of gender specific expectations.
The character that was most amplified in this context was the stunning Cleopatra. Less like a lady and more like a warrior, the audience was witness to this Egyptian queen beginning her cameo with a barrage of games she endlessly threw Antony’s way in a sly attempt to win his affections. “Nay, pray you seek no color for your going, but bid farewell and go” (1.3.33-34). Cleopatra occasionally showed signs of her female side through bouts of the play; however the majority of her presence was swarming with an aura of resiliency and strength. Other characters even mentioned her with such traits in mind; for example, Caesar proclaimed “[Lepidus] is not more manlike than Cleopatra” (1.3.5-6). Her strength was defined most in her beauty; “she makes hungry where most she satisfies; for vildest things become themselves in her” (2.2.236-237). However, it was also present in her behavior. Cleopatra was a meek woman by no means. She stood up for the things she believed in. When upset, she presented her shrewish side. “Hence, Horrible Villian, or I’ll spurn thine eyes like balls before me; I’ll unhair thy head,...
... middle of paper ...
...e 6, Enobarbus and Menas vocally agreed upon the lying and seduction methods of the female population. In Act 3, Scene 12, Caesar prattled on about the inherently weaker side of women. In some cases it was even considered an insult that the men might be compared to women. “For shame, transform us not to women” (4.2.35).
In Antony and Cleopatra, the important point one must recognize is not the battles present both in love and war, but the toe that is continuously slide across the line which Shakespeare always felt inclined to cross. There were no prototypical male or female protagonists in Shakespeare’s world. It is a factor that should always be acknowledged when stewing over this brilliant playwright’s work. Boundaries were meant to be crossed, and Shakespeare made his belief just as apparent in the sloshing of gender roles in Antony and Cleopatra.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra is aptly named, not just because the play centers around these two characters, but also because it encompasses the play’s fixation on the lovers’ oppositional relationship. On the surface level, Antony embodies the Roman ideals of a good, noble man, while Cleopatra represents the hyper-sexualized, dangerous Eastern woman. However, upon further examination both Antony and Cleopatra display complicated internal conflicts that effectively reverse these polar positions repeatedly throughout the play.... [tags: Shakespeare Antony Cleopatra Essays]
2224 words (6.4 pages)
- William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra “The triple pillar of the world transformed/Into a strumpet’s fool. Behold and see” (I.1.12). “I have eyes upon him” (III.6.61). Shakespeare’s Antony invites speculation and a greedy voyerism that can only be instigated by a protagonist who, despite perpetually being at the centre of discussion, manages to elude classification.This impression of opacity of character is enhanced by the fact that his own idea of himself and of his uncontrollable infatuation with Cleopatra is constantly mutating.... [tags: Shakespeare Antony Cleopatra Essays]
2002 words (5.7 pages)
- William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra “Heaven help the American-born boy with a talent for ballet” – Camille Paglia The prim and proper women and the strong and strapping men are no match for Shakespeare’s haze of character’s muddled together in Antony and Cleopatra. As always Shakespeare delivers a luminary cast of individuals that deviate from the socially accepted gender roles. As the audience works its way through the fierce genesis to the catastrophic resolution, it is made more than apparent that lines are being crossed all over society’s conformist board of gender specific expectations.... [tags: Shakespeare Antony Cleopatra Essays]
1016 words (2.9 pages)
- Throughout Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, readers are constantly thrown in the middle of a battle between Roman and Egyptian values. Antony, a noble warrior for the Romans, is the character that seems to have the most trouble between this dichotomy. He is constantly caught between reason (Rome) and passion (Egypt) and has a difficult time making the transitions. Cleopatra is the character that stays most true to her roots, but begins adopting the other side’s values toward the end of the story.... [tags: roman and egyptian values, characters]
961 words (2.7 pages)
- Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare Antony and Cleopatra is a play in which the balance of power swings interestingly between two lovers. It is set in the First Century BC between Rome and Egypt. Antony is one of the three members of the second triumvirate who jointly rule the Roman Empire. Antony is the eponymous tragic hero, who allows his love for Cleopatra to cloud his judgement. According to Aristotle this is hamartia, an error of judgment caused by fate. This leads to his downfall.... [tags: Papers]
1197 words (3.4 pages)
- Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra opens with a five-scene act, four of which takes place in Egypt and one in Rome. In the opening act of the play, the audience is introduced to several characters, some of which play a prominent role throughout the play and others that only appear in the opening act and remain anonymous to the audience in spite of their crucial theatrical function. The opening act provides a stir of varying tones and moods which allow the audience to be emotionally involved with the characters on stage.... [tags: Papers]
1692 words (4.8 pages)
- Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare In Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, the presentation and development of the relationships among the triumvirs, Caesar, Antony and Lepidus becomes a pivotal concern. As the play progresses, the dynamics of the triumvirate changes and becomes more complicated, providing the audience with the main political conflict that sometimes overshadows the romance of the title characters in the play. Shakespeare provides the audience with several different images of the triumvirate through different characters.... [tags: Papers]
1746 words (5 pages)
- 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.... [tags: Papers]
951 words (2.7 pages)
- William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra In the play Antony and Cleopatra, the character of Cleopatra is one of many dimensions and be seen a person of complex diversity. Her personality is mainly about taking life as one big celebration most of her time in Egypt.... [tags: Papers]
1593 words (4.6 pages)
- William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra While Mark Antony is a great general, one of the three triumvant, it is indeed impossible to feel sympathy for him in his extreme "dotage" for Cleopatra. He "fishes, drinks and wastes the lamps of night in revel", hence destroying his own reputation, and even losing his masculinity, and thus, respect. In the opening scene of the play, even before Antony appears, he is constituted by the ideological structure of the Roman world.... [tags: Papers]
876 words (2.5 pages)
- Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird
- Karl Jaspers and Seung Sahn
- The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
- Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and John Milton's Paradise Lost
- Emily Dickinson and Adrienne Rich
- The Sun Also Rises, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, and The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber by Ernest Hemingway