Essay Comparing Eliot’s Parody and Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra

Essay Comparing Eliot’s Parody and Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra

Length: 1143 words (3.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Comparing Eliot’s Parody and Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra

The first major difference between Eliot’s Parody and Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra comes with the very first simile. In Shakespeare’s original the barge in which Cleopatra sits is compared to a burnished throne burning on the water, whereas in Eliot’s parody it is only a chair that she fills like a throne, glowing on the marble. Eliot’s character comes across, therefore, as far less ‘enormous’ and larger than life than Shakespeare portrays Cleopatra who seems very great, even in comparison with her barge, which she fills as if it were a throne - her majesty makes the barge seem tiny in comparison; Eliot’s character only makes a chair look like a chair. Again, with the water on which Cleopatra’s barge floats burning, and the marble on which the chair stands glowing, Shakespeare’s image if far greater than the one Eliot creates, being strange and somewhat mystical, as opposed to Eliot’s chair’s entirely possible glow.

Cleopatra, in the same way, has ‘pretty dimpled boys’ fanning her, ‘like smiling cupids’, whereas in the passage from The Wasteland, there are merely golden Cupidons, observing the scene, one peeping out at her, another hiding his eyes behind his wing - instead of serving an immediate, yet subtle purpose, as Cleopatra’s are, fanning her.

Other images of Eliot’s, in contrast, are much larger than Shakespeare, but again succeed in making Eliot’s character look small and insignificant in comparison. Eliot describes the enormous amount of adornments around the room, including her ‘vials of ivory and coloured glass’, which contain many perfumes, which are described as ‘drowning the sense in odours’ and again it is the lack of subtlety t...

... middle of paper ...

...speare tends to prefer the use of metaphor to that of simile - whilst Homer often used extended simile to illustrate his point, and often went off on very distinct tangents, Shakespeare tends to prefer the more modern construction of metaphor, rather than having to protect himself as an author with words like ‘like’ or ‘as’.

Eliot may well have chosen this passage for its eccentricities, and it succeeds in creating a powerful and provoking parody, as well as being a very good contrast to other parts of The Wasteland, poetically, including the very next part, which is more modern, and simple. It is also interesting that Eliot chose to almost blend the Shakespeare in with other more ordinary bits of literature - the passage begins with only slight changes to the words of Enobarbus’ speech, but soon becomes considerably different to the original Shakespeare.


Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra Essay

- 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]

Strong Essays
2224 words (6.4 pages)

William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra Essay

- 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]

Strong Essays
1016 words (2.9 pages)

William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra Essay

- 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]

Strong Essays
2002 words (5.7 pages)

Tragic Heroism in Shakespeare's Antony And Cleopatra Essay

- In the tragedy “Antony and Cleopatra”, Shakespeare presents our protagonist Mark Antony as a tragic hero. He does this by using a number of dramatically effective methods, including language, staging techniques and structure. Aristotle defines a tragic hero as a character of noble stature who has a tragic flaw (usually hubris which is over confidence/arrogance) and suffers a downfall that is partially their fault but also due to factors beyond their control. The downfall they suffer exceeds the “crime” but the tragic hero gains some sort of self-awareness....   [tags: Antony And Cleopatra]

Strong Essays
1734 words (5 pages)

Essay on Themes in Shakespeare's Hamlet and Antony & Cleopatra

- Hamlet and Antony & Cleopatra are quite dramatic plays, they require an in depth look since they are significant in their own ways. Both of them have quite a lot of similarities and differences altogether. In terms of themes specifically they both have quite similar themes, ones that can be analyzed psychoanalytically and are represented and portrayed in a variety of different ways using characters, imagery, etc. These are quite interesting ways of portraying certain themes or ideas. Shakespeare with the help of these assets could properly project many ideas to the audience and appeal to them psychologically....   [tags: Hamlet, Antony and Cleopatra ]

Strong Essays
3142 words (9 pages)

Female Power, Maternity and Genderbending in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra

- Female Power, Maternity and Genderbending in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra The 19th century essayist and literary critic William Hazlitt wrote of Cleopatra, "She is voluptuous, ostentatious, conscious, boastful of her charms, haughty, tyrannical, [and] fickle," which are "great and unpardonable faults" (Hazlitt 2-3). Much of the criticism of Antony and Cleopatra has recycled this judgement, depicting Cleopatra as a villainess uses her eroticism and sexuality to motivate Antony to seek power....   [tags: Shakespeare Antony Cleopatra Essays]

Strong Essays
3158 words (9 pages)

Argument and Parody in T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets Essay

- The Seduction of Argument and the Danger of Parody in T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets Though its more lyrical passages present detailed and evocative imagery, substantial portions of T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets afford no such easy approach. Since the initial appearance of "Burnt Norton" it has been a critical commonplace to regard these portions of the text as at once its most conceptually profound and its most formally prosaic. Of course, the Quartets offer enough cues toward this critical attitude that it may fairly be said to reside within the poem at least as much as it is imposed from without....   [tags: T.S. Eliot Four Quartets]

Strong Essays
6609 words (18.9 pages)

Politics and Love in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra Essay

- Politics and Love in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra Although the political struggles in Antony and Cleopatra are often treated as backdrops to the supposedly more engaging love affair between the two title characters, these struggles permeate the entire play, and give the love story its heightened sense of importance and tragedy. The relationship between Antony and Cleopatra would not have attained its renown and immortality had they not had been extremely powerful and public figures. The conflict between public duty and personal desire is the underlying theme of the play, and how the characters respond to this conflict is what imbues the play with suspense and interest....   [tags: Antony Cleopatra Essays]

Strong Essays
2225 words (6.4 pages)

The Fictional Character Cleopatra Essays

- The Fictional Character Cleopatra The fictional character of Cleopatra has captured the imaginations of people the world over. Helen of Troy was said to have had ‘the face that launched a thousand ships.’ Cleopatra was not simply a beautiful and passive face, but indeed commanded navies as well as the heart of the powerful Mark Antony. Looking at these two facts from the play one may see the political brilliance in her affections, but also the dichotomy. Which one of her loves is true, and which is of an illusory nature....   [tags: Cleopatra Shakespeare Plays Literature Essays]

Strong Essays
1432 words (4.1 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]

Strong Essays
1407 words (4 pages)