The Presentation of Rome and Egypt in the Play Antony and Cleopatra Essay

The Presentation of Rome and Egypt in the Play Antony and Cleopatra Essay

Length: 794 words (2.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Good Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Presentation of Rome and Egypt in the Play Antony and Cleopatra

One of the foremost of themes in the play of Antony and Cleopatra
alongside “tragedy” and “love” is the differences between the two
“worlds” of Rome and Egypt. Throughout the play, Shakespeare
frequently presents and demonstrates to the audience the reality and
differences between these two “worlds” in many ways and forms. In this
essay I will discuss how Shakespeare does this and how he presents it
to the audience.

Antony, who is the primary character in the play, portrays the ideas
of the two “worlds” of Egypt and Rome very clearly. Shakespeare
presents Antony as a different man when in Rome and a different one
when in Egypt.

Shakespeare organises the plot of Antony and Cleopatra around the
theme of conflict between Rome and Egypt immediately. In the opening
scene the two soldiers Philo and Demetrius discuss Antony’s
surrendering of his military duties to the exotic pleasures of Egypt
and Cleopatra. Both Philo and Demetrius discuss the divide in world
where one is governed by discipline and reason (Rome), and the other
ruled by pleasure and love. Both Philo and Demetrius discuss and claim
that Antony’s "captain's heart" now serves as,

"The bellows and the fan / to cool a gypsy’s lust”

This reflects their view of the world being divided into two entities.
And that Egypt is ruled by a “gypsy”, or in other worlds a whore.

The reason why they refer to Cleopatra as a whore is because a whore’s
job is to sleep with many men without any feelings for them. This is
what Cleopatra does and has done and both Philo and Demetrius believe
Antony is just wasting ...


... middle of paper ...


... messenger to him, and she tell the messenger,

“Well, go to, I will. But there’s no goodness in thy face if Antony be
free and healthful- so tart a favour, to trumpet such good tidings. If
not well, thou shouldst come like a fury crowned with snakes, not like
a formal man”

Cleopatra sends the messenger and tells him that if he sees Antony
with a miserable face, be “healthful” i.e. happy, and if he sees him
with a glad face, then “come like a fury crowned with snakes”.
Cleopatra deliberately deceives Antony with the power of love and
passion.

Shakespeare presents ideas of conflict and differences between Rome
and Egypt very clearly. He continuously raises the question to the
audience as to which “world” is more superior and more powerful.
Shakespeare leaves it to the audience to come to their own judgement.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Shakespeare’s Presentation of Rome and Egypt in Antony and Cleopatra

- Shakespeare’s Presentation of Rome and Egypt in Antony and Cleopatra As the title clearly suggests, Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra is based around the extraordinary relationship among two distinctive individuals, one a Roman general and the other an Egyptian queen. Along with Caesar who is also a Roman general, these entities dominate the play’s tragic storyline progression. However whilst Antony and Cleopatra centres around a provocative love affair, Shakespeare makes it evident that there is a good deal larger tensions involved, a collision course between two worlds....   [tags: Papers]

Good Essays
1171 words (3.3 pages)

Greco-Roman Influence in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra Essay

- Greco-Roman Influence in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra Greco-Roman mythological images seem to dominate Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra. Ever since the humanist revolution started, Renaissance writers, including Shakespeare, systematically tried to revive Greek literature and Greek mythology. It was an attempt to establish an alternative authority to Catholic scholastic dogma that has the stamp of antiquity. Shakespeare's knowledge of mythology was almost exclusively Roman, especially in relation to love and war....   [tags: Antony Cleopatra Essays]

Good Essays
1407 words (4 pages)

Presentation of the Characters of Antony and Cleopatra in Act One of William Shakespeare's Play

- Presentation of the Characters of Antony and Cleopatra in Act One of William Shakespeare's Play The opulent backdrop of the palace at Alexandria provides Shakespeare, his readers and characters with the perfect scene with which to introduce a romance. For a romance it most certainly is, however at this junction it is apparent that all is not as blissful as it should be. The Roman Mark Anthony we understand to be the archetypal macho hero. Comparisons with the Greek God of war Mars are purposeful....   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
539 words (1.5 pages)

Shakespeare's Presentation of Antony and Cleopatra in Act One Essay

- Shakespeare's Presentation of Antony and Cleopatra in Act One Shakespeare’s presentation of both Antony and Cleopatra in Act 1 can be analysed in many ways as they are both introduced in Act 1 with in-depth descriptions and images of both of them throughout, whether it be by eachother or opinions on them voiced by other characters. Straight from the beginning of the play, in Act 1 scene 1, Antony and Cleopatra argue over whether their love for one another for one another can be measured: CLEOPATRA: If it be love indeed, tell me how much....   [tags: Papers]

Good Essays
1006 words (2.9 pages)

William Shakespeare's Presentation of Domitius Enobarbus in Antony and Cleopatra

- William Shakespeare's Presentation of Domitius Enobarbus in Antony and Cleopatra Traditionally Shakespeare's use of the role of a chorus is seen to have been used as an insight for the audience into the prophesy of future events and what to expect throughout the play, usually by a secondary character. In 'Antony and Cleopatra', Shakespeare expands the role of the chorus within his presentation of Enobarbus. Enobarbus does not merely illustrate what consequences Antony's and Cleopatra's actions will have but plays a significant and vital character whose actions earn the admiration of the audience....   [tags: Papers]

Good Essays
1190 words (3.4 pages)

William Shakespeare's Presentation of Octavius Caesar in Antony and Cleopatra

- William Shakespeare's Presentation of Octavius Caesar in Antony and Cleopatra Shakespeare portrays Octavius Caesar as a very complex character in 'Antony and Cleopatra.' Shakespeare shows the audience how he has very strong feelings about War, leadership, the relationship between Antony and Cleopatra, and his sister Octavia. These attitudes can be seen as being too rational, too ambitious, and too efficient. However it is these characteristics which in some ways, form the particular contrast with Antony, which shows us his complex character, which also contributes to the conflicts which arise in the play....   [tags: Papers]

Good Essays
1619 words (4.6 pages)

Antony and Cleopatra Essay

- Joseph Innes How does Shakespeare present the sense of opposites or polarities And what is the importance of these to the play. William Shakespeare wrote Antony and Cleopatra around 1606, during the reign of King James ². The play is a history, set in the time of the Roman Empire many centuries before it was written and based on the well-documented history of Octavius Caesar, Marc Antony and Cleopatra. These characters and their lives were contained in primarily one document: Plutarch's Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans, which was translated by Sir Thomas North in 1579....   [tags: essays research papers]

Good Essays
1838 words (5.3 pages)

Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare Essay

- 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]

Good Essays
1692 words (4.8 pages)

English Coursework- Antony and Cleopatra Essay

- English Coursework- Antony and Cleopatra “Compare Shakespeare’s presentation of Antony in the Egyptian scenes with his presentation of Antony in the Roman scenes” Shakespeare presents Antony in Egypt and Antony in Rome, in a very contrasting way. We see a man who almost contradicts his own self, dependant upon the company he is in. A great leader, yet he falls before Cleopatra. Antony is presented as the epitome of Roman masculinity, Philo describing Antony in the opening- “…those his goodly eyes, that o’er the files and musters of the war have glow’d like Mars…his captain’s heart, which in the scuffles of great fights hath burst the buckles on his breas...   [tags: Papers]

Good Essays
1294 words (3.7 pages)

Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare Essay

- 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]

Good Essays
1746 words (5 pages)