Antony And Cleopatra By William Shakespeare English Literature Essay

Antony And Cleopatra By William Shakespeare English Literature Essay

Egypt, where Cleopatra resides, characteristics gender and female laterality rather early in the drama. Charmian ‘s dual entendres with the forecaster and Cleopatra ‘s conversations with Mardian confirm Caesar ‘s comments where he criticizes Antony for effeminateness and self- indulgence. However, the Egyptian scenes demonstrate a violent emotional fluctuation more than they emphasize gender. Cleopatra controls Antony by ruling his emotions ; she can spur him to the point of fury, “ ” , she can stand aside and allow his choler diminish, “ ” , or she can merely go forth him, “ ” . Cleopatra is a skilled actress ; as her first scene with Antony shows, she conducts her matter with the Roman general in a extremely theatrical manner, something about how she acts. Later, upon acquisition of Antony ‘s program to return to Rome, the queen displacements from heartache to anger with amazing velocity. No Oklahoman does she retrieve from a fainting enchantment than she rails at Antony for his inability to mourn his dead married woman adequately. As he prepares to go forth, Cleopatra says, “ But sir, forgive me, / Since my becomings kill me when they do non / Eye good to you ” ( I.iii.96-98 ) . Here, “ becomings ” refers non merely to the graces that become or suit the queen but besides to her fluid transmutations, her many tempers, and the many different versions of herself she presents. In Act I, scene I, Antony points to this mutableness: “ Fie brawling queen! [ tungsten ] hom everything becomes-to chide, to express joy, / To cry ; whose every passion to the full strives to do itself, in thee, just and admired ” ( I.i.51-52 ) . Shakespeare uses form switching imagination throughout the drama to farther show Cleopatra ‘s versatility and faithlessness, “ ” .

It is evident that throughout Antony and Cleopatra, Cleopatra ‘s animal love struggles invariably with Antony ‘s soldierly excitement. Yet nevertheless strong these perceptual experiences may look, the reader becomes cognizant of the instability of said perceptual experiences when Antony and Cleopatra are erroneously identified for each other in Act I, Scene II, when Enobarbus says, “ Hush, here comes Antony, ” and Charmian answers, “ Not he, the Queen ” ( 1.2.81-82 ) . Shortly after that confusion, the gender functions of Antony and Cleopatra begin to merge.Antony speaks as an Egyptian would on juncture, and Cleopatra takes on Roman qualities or uses Roman linguistic communication at times to either annoyer Antony or do a point. This is revealed in the first scene ; after answering to Antony ‘s “ There ‘s begging in the love that can be reckoned, ” Cleopatra responds with a more Roman “ I ‘ll put a bourn how far to be beloved. ” ( Act 1.1 line 17 ) As Antony takes on an Egyptian attack, both in address and in mode, Cleopatra adopts a Roman tone. Although Cleopatra is non being serious with her linguistic communication as a Roman would and this conversation is one between lovers, Cleopatra sets boundaries and measurings. While Antony is wrapped up in pleasance, Cleopatra chides him that he is losing his responsibilities in Rome with, “ Hear the embassadors. ”

Although Antony regulations as portion of the Roman triumvirate, it is clear that his bosom and head are in the East with Cleopatra. Everyone can see Antony ‘s eventual prostration, and even Antony recognizes his possible swaying when he states, “ These strong Egyptian hobbles I must interrupt, / Or lose myself in second childhood ” ( 1.2.122-123 ) . As the functions of East and West begin to unify, Antony apparently still believes himself to incarnate Roman values, yet he contradicts his beliefs when he says, “ Let Rome in Tiber thaw and the broad arch / Of the ranged imperium autumn! Here is my infinite ” ( 1.1.35-36 ) , proclaiming Egypt to be where he belongs. Caesar notices Antony ‘s transmutation excessively, as he laments to Lepidus that a great alteration has overtaken Antony. Caesar has heard that Antony, one time the adult male that represented the Roman ideal, is blowing his clip off in Egypt ; imbibing, carousing, and remaining out tardily. Caesar reveals that Antony “ is non more manly / Than Cleopatra, nor the queen of Ptolemy / More womanly than he ” ( 1.4.5-7 ) . In mentioning to Cleopatra, Caesar is besides indicating out that she has taken on Antony ‘s function. Cleopatra is presuming the masculine and powerful individuality that Antony one time encompassed, and Antony is going the uneconomical and lovesick adult female that Cleopatra one time embodied. Antony is going the antithesis of himself by taking on his new function as Cleopatra ‘s lover.

As Cleopatra ‘s lover, Antony is feminising his masculine function and is authorising Cleopatra in her function as a masculine leader. Both are offending their prescribed, gendered boundaries. Even so, at times, Shakespeare still shows the characters in their expected functions. In Act IV, Scene IV, Antony and Cleopatra are shown in traditional gender functions:

ANTONY Eros, mine armour, Eros!

CLEOPATRA Sleep a small.

ANTONY No, my chow. Eros, semen, mine armour, Eros!

( 4.4.1-3 )

In this scene, Cleopatra tries to acquire Antony to remain in bed with her, which is a female sphere, while Antony is bespeaking to be suited with his armor-symbolizing the masculine sphere of war. This is non to last, nevertheless, as Cleopatra thirstily attempts to assist decorate Antony with his armor ;