Cleopatra, being the complex figure that she is, has faced a variety of interpretations of character throughout history. Perhaps the most famous dichotomy is that of the manipulative seductress versus the skilled leader. Examining the critical history of the character of Cleopatra reveals that intellectuals of the 19th century and the early 20th century viewed her as merely an object of sexuality that could be understood and diminished rather than an imposing force with great poise and capacity for leadership.
This phenomenon is illustrated by the famous poet T. He saw her as "no wielder of power," but rather that her "devouring sexuality Throughout his writing on Antony and Cleopatra, Eliot refers to Cleopatra as material rather than person. He frequently calls her "thing". Eliot conveys the view of early critical history on the character of Cleopatra. The postmodern view of Cleopatra is complex. Doris Adler suggests that, in a postmodern philosophical sense, we cannot begin to grasp the character of Cleopatra because, "In a sense it is a distortion to consider Cleopatra at any moment apart from the entire cultural milieu that creates and consumes Antony and Cleopatra on stage.
However the isolation and microscopic examination of a single aspect apart from its host environment is an effort to improve the understanding of the broader context. In similar fashion, the isolation and examination of the stage image of Cleopatra becomes an attempt to improve the understanding of the theatrical power of her infinite variety and the cultural treatment of that power.
Fitz believes that it is not possible to derive a clear, postmodern view of Cleopatra due to the sexism that all critics bring with them when they review her intricate character.
He states specifically, "Almost all critical approaches to this play have been coloured by the sexist assumptions the critics have brought with them to their reading. Freeman states, "We understand Antony as a grand failure because the container of his Romanness "dislimns": Conversely, we understand Cleopatra at her death as the transcendent queen of "immortal longings" because the container of her mortality can no longer restrain her: Some postmodern critics also believe that the view of Cleopatra is constantly shifting and can be interpreted in many new and sometimes exciting ways.
Royster suggests that contemporary interpretations of Cleopatra consider her African-American traits: Most productions rely on rather predictable contrasts in costuming to imply the rigid discipline of the former and the languid self-indulgence of the latter.
By exploiting ethnic differences in speech, gesture, and movement, Parsons rendered the clash between two opposing cultures not only contemporary but also poignant. In this setting, the white Egyptians represented a graceful and ancient aristocracy—well groomed, elegantly poised, and doomed.
The Romans, upstarts from the West, lacked finesse and polish. But by sheer brute strength they would hold dominion over principalities and kingdoms. Cleopatra is a difficult character to pin down because there are multiple aspects of her personality that we occasionally get a glimpse of. However, the most dominant parts of her character seem to oscillate between a powerful ruler, a seductress, and a heroine of sorts.
Cleopatra had quite a wide influence, and still continues to inspire, making her a heroine to many. The relationship between Egypt and Rome in Antony and Cleopatra is central to understanding the plot, as the dichotomy allows the reader to gain more insight into the characters, their relationships, and the ongoing events that occur throughout the play.
Shakespeare emphasises the differences between the two nations with his use of language and literary devices, which also highlight the different characterizations of the two countries by their own inhabitants and visitors. Literary critics have also spent many years developing arguments concerning the "masculinity" of Rome and the Romans and the "femininity" of Egypt and the Egyptians. In traditional criticism of Antony and Cleopatra , "Rome has been characterised as a male world, presided over by the austere Caesar, and Egypt as a female domain, embodied by a Cleopatra who is seen to be as abundant, leaky, and changeable as the Nile".
The straightforwardness of the binary between male Rome and female Egypt has been challenged in later 20th-century criticism of the play: In Antony and Cleopatra , Shakespeare uses several literary techniques to convey a deeper meaning about the differences between Rome and Egypt. One example of this is his schema of the container as suggested by critic Donald Freeman in his article, "The rack dislimns. An example of the body in reference to the container can be seen in the following passage:.
Let Rome in Tiber melt, and the wide arch Of the ranged empire fall! Here is my space! For Rome to "melt is for it to lose its defining shape, the boundary that contains its civic and military codes. Conversely we come to understand Cleopatra in that the container of her mortality can no longer restrain her. Unlike Antony whose container melts, she gains a sublimity being released into the air.
In general, characters associated with Egypt perceive their world composed of the Aristotelian elements, which are earth, wind, fire and water. These differing systems of thought and perception result in very different versions of nation and empire. The political attitudes of Antony, Caesar, and Cleopatra are all basic archetypes for the conflicting sixteenth-century views of kingship. Critics have often used the opposition between Rome and Egypt in Antony and Cleopatra to set forth defining characteristics of the various characters.
While some characters are distinctly Egyptian, others are distinctly Roman, some are torn between the two, and still others attempt to remain neutral. Rome as it is perceived from a Roman point of view; Rome as it is perceived from an Egyptian point of view; Egypt as it is perceived form a Roman point of view; and Egypt as it is perceived from an Egyptian point of view.
Rome from the Roman perspective: According to Hirsh, Rome largely defines itself by its opposition to Egypt. In fact, even the distinction between masculine and feminine is a purely Roman idea which the Egyptians largely ignore. The Romans view the "world" as nothing more than something for them to conquer and control.
They believe they are "impervious to environmental influence"  and that they are not to be influenced and controlled by the world but vice versa. Rome from the Egyptian perspective: The Egyptians view the Romans as boring, oppressive, strict and lacking in passion and creativity, preferring strict rules and regulations.
Egypt from the Egyptian perspective: The Egyptian World view reflects what Mary Floyd-Wilson has called geo-humoralism, or the belief that climate and other environmental factors shapes racial character. Egypt is not a location for them to rule over, but an inextricable part of them.
They view life as more fluid and less structured allowing for creativity and passionate pursuits. Egypt from the Roman perspective: The Romans view the Egyptians essentially as improper.
Their passion for life is continuously viewed as irresponsible, indulgent, over-sexualised and disorderly. This is demonstrated in the following passage describing Antony. Boys who, being mature in knowledge, Pawn their experience to their present pleasure, And so rebel judgment. Ultimately the dichotomy between Rome and Egypt is used to distinguish two sets of conflicting values between two different locales.
Yet, it goes beyond this division to show the conflicting sets of values not only between two cultures but within cultures, even within individuals. Instead he oscillates between the two.
In the beginning of the play Cleopatra calls attention to this saying. Orientalism plays a very specific, and yet, nuanced role in the story of Antony and Cleopatra. A more specific term comes to mind, from Richmond Barbour, that of proto-orientalism, that is orientalism before the age of imperialism. This allowed Shakespeare to use widespread assumptions about the "exotic" east with little academic recourse. It could be said that Antony and Cleopatra and their relationship represent the first meeting of the two cultures in a literary sense, and that this relationship would lay the foundation for the idea of Western superiority vs.
This plays into the idea that Cleopatra has been made out to be an "other", with terms used to describe her like "gypsy".
Feminist criticism of Antony and Cleopatra has provided a more in-depth reading of the play, has challenged previous norms for criticism, and has opened a larger discussion of the characterization of Egypt and Rome. Through his language, such scholars argue, he tends to characterise Rome as "masculine" and Egypt as "feminine.
The feminine categorization of Egypt, and subsequently Cleopatra, was negatively portrayed throughout early criticism. The story of Antony and Cleopatra was often summarised as either "the fall of a great general, betrayed in his dotage by a treacherous strumpet, or else it can be viewed as a celebration of transcendental love. Jonathan Gil Harris claims that the Egypt vs. Rome dichotomy many critics often adopt does not only represent a "gender polarity" but also a "gender hierarchy".
Early critics like Georg Brandes presented Egypt as a lesser nation because of its lack of rigidity and structure and presented Cleopatra, negatively, as "the woman of women, quintessentiated Eve.
In more recent years, critics have taken a closer look at previous readings of Antony and Cleopatra and have found several aspects overlooked.
Egypt was previously characterised as the nation of the feminine attributes of lust and desire while Rome was more controlled. However, Harris points out that Caesar and Antony both possess an uncontrollable desire for Egypt and Cleopatra: Harris further implies that Romans have an uncontrollable lust and desire for "what they do not or cannot have.
Thus did I desire it: What our contempt doth often hurl from us, We wish it ours again; the present pleasure, By revolution lowering, does become The opposite of itself: Fitz outwardly claims that early criticism of Antony and Cleopatra is "colored by the sexist assumptions the critics have brought with them to their reading. This claim is apparent in Brandes argument: Relativity and ambiguity are prominent ideas in the play, and the audience is challenged to come to conclusions about the ambivalent nature of many of the characters.
The relationship between Antony and Cleopatra can easily be read as one of love or lust; their passion can be construed as being wholly destructive but also showing elements of transcendence. Cleopatra might be said to kill herself out of love for Antony, or because she has lost political power. A major theme running through the play is opposition.
Throughout the play, oppositions between Rome and Egypt, love and lust, and masculinity and femininity are emphasised, subverted, and commented on. Act 2, Scene 2. It may be perceived as opposition between word and deed but not to be confused with "duality. All is lost; This foul Egyptian hath betrayed me: My fleet hath yielded to the foe; and yonder They cast their caps up and carouse together Like friends long lost.
Bid them all fly; For when I am revenged upon my charm, I have done all. Bid them all fly; begone. Fortune and Antony part here; even here Do we shake hands. All come to this? O this false soul of Egypt! However, he then strangely says to Cleopatra: Give me a kiss. Even this repays me"  3. Literary critic Joyce Carol Oates explains: Cleopatra is trying to make Antony stay in Egypt with her and when this does not work she pretends to be ill so she gets sympathy off him.
She can maintain this by acting and making situations a drama when actually situations are not as bad as they are. Therefore making her accusations of herself being ill, false. Charmian tells her that she should not play games with Antony if she loves Antony before Antony arrives. Antony replies to her is as if he is trying to calm her down but this still shows that Cleopatra has got a very strong hold of Antony because he always answers to her demands.
Cleopatra is not that ill because she keeps on talking and manipulating, reminding him about the past. She is trying to make him feel guilty so he will not leave her. This portrays Cleopatra as selfish and what she wants is what she gets. She even mocks Antony about fertility and the affair they had.
She is pretending to feel sorry for Fulvia. This is rich because she is the one who caused the affair between herself and Antony. Dramatic irony is used because Cleopatra says that Antony has been lying, when ironically she is the one who is lying about her illness. There is a total change within her when Antony says he is leaving. She recognises that she has lost the battle. She becomes for dignified and queen like again and therefore forgives him.
Cleopatra in short space of time changes mood dramatically, from being playful, angry and unloving to a dignified queen. This infers that the infinite variety within her can vary at any time depending on the situation she is put in.
Although Cleopatra plays childish games, she is devoted to Anthony. When the messenger comes from Rome she is worried he will go back to his wife.
This is starkly contrasted with her behaviour at the beginning of the play when she only tormented him, took him for granted and played mind games with him. Even in the beginning of the play Cleopatra plays games with Antony. She wants to know how much he loves her when she already knows this. Scene 3 Act III: Scene 4 Act III: Scene 5 Act III: Scene 6 Act III: Scenes 8—10 Act III: Scene 11 Act III: Scene 12 Act III: Scene 13 Act IV: Scene 1 Act IV: Scene 2 Act IV: Scene 3 Act IV: Scene 4 Act IV: Scene 5 Act IV: Scene 6 Act IV: Scene 7 Act IV: Scene 8 Act IV: Scene 9 Act IV: Scene 10 Act IV:
Aug 23, · embrapa.gae Antony and Cleopatra’s relationship, paying close attention to their trust in one another. embrapa.gae and contrast Cleopatra with Caesar, especially in their final confrontation.
Opposites Attract in Antony and Cleopatra - Opposites Attract in Antony and Cleopatra William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra is a play that is centred around a pair of historical lovers from two distinct cultures, Mark Antony from Rome and Queen Cleopatra from Egypt.
Antony and Cleopatra - Love Story or Tragedy Essay - Question `Shakespeare doesn't organize his tragedy as a drama of love between Antony and Cleopatra, but as a drama of the rise and fall of Antony in the struggle for world leadership'. Antony and Cleopatra William Shakespeare Antony and Cleopatra literature essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Antony and Cleopatra.
Antony And Cleopatra Essay Help antonyreviews the best debt relief programs The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra Essay. BACK; NEXT ; Writer’s block can be painful, but we’ll help get you over the hump and build a great outline for your embrapa.gae academy essay tips Antony And Cleopatra Essay Help american revolution thesis paper transfer college essaysAntony And Cleopatra Essay Help. Shakespeare's 'Antony and Cleopatra' is a play concerned with the conflict between passion and reason. Antony, the protagonist is a character torn between his sense of duty as part of the triumvirate and his desire to seek pleasure in the company of his wife, Cleopatra.