The Selfishness of Human Nature in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra Essay

The Selfishness of Human Nature in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra Essay

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Throughout the play of “Antony and Cleopatra” Shakespeare focuses on the selfishness of human nature, particularly on the interactions of Antony and Cleopatra. Antony infatuated by his romance with Cleopatra, disregards his duty in the Roman Empire as well as his loyal followers to chase after his flame. Cleopatra pursues Antony’s love despite he is married, and only cares about the status of their relationship. She even fakes her death so that Antony declares his affections for her, disregarding his real feelings, principal in his impending death. Her enchantment never leaves Antony fully satisfied triggering a constant yearning, molding him into a disposable object for her pleasure. The trickery and deception stemming from selfishness is the crux of their love affair leading to the tragic downfall of both characters.
Both Antony and Cleopatra as a pair are molded into a dynamic and godly emblem of supreme selfish nature. Together they parade the streets gazing upon commoners as a pastime, elevating the selfish and egotistical dynamic of both characters. There identify apart is found in the desperate desire to assert dominance as leaders in their own country and among followers. Anthony takes pride in the glory of military accomplishments and his former production of masculinity stemming from a primal nature. While Cleopatra’s selfishness is defined by her hypersexual nature and enchantment of Antony. This particular elevation of Cleopatra’s egocentrism happens after Antony’s death:
Nay, ’tis most certain, Iras. Saucy lictors
Will catch at us like strumpets, and scald rhymers
Ballad us out o’ tune. The quick comedians
Extemporally will stage us, and present
Our Alexandrian revels. Antony
Shall be brought drunken forth, and I shal...


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...rather than allowing his self-image to be labeled as feministic and a defeated General, Cleopatra denies her persona the ability to be reduced to a vile and inglorious state. Cleopatra believes that if her grandiosity is loss, her identity will be demolished. The ironic part is that both Antony and Cleopatra attain this sense of glory, but is exulted as tragic characters defined by selfishness.
The selfishness that leads Antony and Cleopatra into their state of Glory is ultimately their tragic downfall. The passage highlights how the theatrics of the play will destroy their sense of grandiosity, compelling the portrayal of the characters as vile and inglorious. This particular passage focuses on rendering Cleopatra as theatrical character humiliated by the theatrical rhetoric of the play. It is a tragic depiction of a romantic love, driven by self-centered desire.

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