Lesser commanders must figure out their own strategies, as well. Cleopatra is one of Shakespeare's most accomplished creations, an intriguing woman who wraps great men around her finger. Other thematic divides represented by Rome and Egypt Dynamic Change versus Static Order: This binary is closely tied to the theme of fate and historical necessity, which has its destructive and transformational side. Antony sends Octavia back to Rome and returns to Alexandria to be with Cleopatra. Yet, as the losers of a civil war, the lovers play only a minor role in 1st-century history.
He is, in the end, a man ruled by passion as much as by reason. Transcending the bounds of a typical romance, this is also a play about the thirst for power and the contrast between two great civilizations. We won't give away too much, but the fact that this is a tragedy should tell you a lot about how the play ends. Octavia's disgrace gives Caesar sufficient reason to hate Antony even more than he already does, and he vows revenge. They'll need to study carefully the political manipulations that transpire and thoughtfully question the motives and actions of each character. But the play is a tragedy: Shakespeare presents the downfall of Antony and Cleopatra sympathetically, bestowing some honor on them even as they lose themselves among the pleasures of the Egyptian court. Contrasting Regions The play is set up as an interaction between Rome and Alexandria, Egypt.
Which characters in Antony and Cleopatra display honorable qualities? But before long, he tires of the pursuit of power in Rome and decides to return to Egypt. Cobbs-Hoffman tells the history of the Peace Corps. Canidius Lieutenant general to Antony. Antony showed how much he loved Cleopatra, when he asked Dollabella to send his message to her as he went back and forth adding soft words, because he cared about her and his leaving her. To us, the defeat of Antony is inevitable, fated, because it has already happened. But she has her own idea of honor, one centered on the glamour and individuality of her own persona. They both rule over two of the most important empires in history: Rome and Ancient Egypt.
In other words, English colonial holdings were expanding. The first scene is set in Alexandria, where two of Antony's men, Demetrius and Philo, describe the lovers' relationship. Unlike the romantic stories of Shakespeare, the foundation of this play is tragedy. On the other hand, when he found that his allegiance to Rome prevented him from abandoning it entirely and compelled him to enter into a political marriage with Octavia, he could have honestly moved past his feelings for Cleopatra. Understanding Antony and Cleopatra The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra tells one of history's greatest and most complex love stories. In the play, Shakespeare uses Rome as a symbol for cynicism, which he frequently refers to as politics, and to refer to the notions of idealism.
When Pompey entertains the triumvirate as guests aboard his barge, Menas asks if he should murder the three men and make Pompey the world's master. He and Cleopatra feast, drink, and carouse decadently. For example, Antony talks about an honorable death in Act 4, Scene 2. So sit back, relax, and get ready to —things are about to get a little crazy. Female Sexuality Throughout the play, the male characters rail against the power of female sexuality. Compare and contrast the way Shakespeare depicts Rome with the way he depicts Egypt.
Although many of the plays use expectation and prophecy and fulfillment, every event in this play is foreshadowed either by soothsayers or savvy observers like Enobarbus. Act V This final act concentrates on Cleopatra's last hours, as she negotiates with the Roman victors. Regret is also another way of introducing a different perspective in the play. Act 2 Scene 6 As peace is celebrated between the members of the triumvirate and Pompey, Enobarbus predicts that Antony will soon abandon Octavia for Cleopatra, and thus create dissension between himself and Octavius. At first, this course of action may appear to be a triumph of reason over passion, of -Western sensibilities over Eastern ones, but the play is not that simple. He jeers that she will desert him for Caesar, just as some of his troops already have.
When viewed in this light, it becomes clear that Shakespeare is not endorsing a view that values cynicism over idealism. By this marriage, All little jealousies, which now seem great, And all great fears, which now import their dangers, Would then be nothing: truths would be tales, Where now half tales be truths: her love to both Would, each to other and all loves to both, Draw after her. Public Displays of Affection In Antony and Cleopatra, public displays of affection are generally understood to be expressions of political power and allegiance. Caesar and his men condemn Antony for the weakness that makes him bow to the Egyptian queen, but they clearly lay the blame for his downfall on Cleopatra. Act 4 Scene 14 In grief over Cleopatra's supposed death, Antony plans a noble Roman suicide but fails, leaving himself severely wounded. Thus, ordinary people, advisors, soldiers, and attendants are forced to decide who to follow and be loyal to. Many of Shakespeares plays focus on honoring the Queen and the monarchy.
One third of the triumvirate, the alliance between Antony, Octavius, and Lepidus that rules the Roman Empire. Or was it when she meets Leon? The interplay between passion and reason is often at stake, as to whether passion interferes with, or can augment, reason. Cleopatra resolves to die rather than be taken captive to Rome, and she and her women have a basket of poisonous snakes smuggled to them in order to commit suicide. Act 1 Scene 4 In Rome, Octavius and Lepidus discuss Antony's 'unmanly' behaviour when in Cleopatra's company. When Antony and his men return to Rome, many of the Roman soldiers are hungry for tales of Egypt's wonders, the greatest wonder of all being Cleopatra. This exchange sets the tone for the way that love will be discussed and understood throughout the play. Love, in Antony and Cleopatra, is not comprised of private intimacies, as it is in Romeo and Juliet.
Cleopatra refuses such an end, choosing instead to take her own life. Octavia's discovery that Antony is glorifying Cleopatra and her children, one of them the illegitimate son of Julius Caesar, provides enough of an excuse for Caesar to declare that both Antony and Cleopatra are traitors. Although Antony dies believing himself a man of honor, discipline, and reason, our understanding of him is not nearly as straight-forward. Scarus Friend to Antony, brave soldier and faithful companion. He declaims his love for Cleopatra and readily enters into a political marriage with Octavia.
Historical forces become conflated with less rational conceptions of destiny and fate. In other words, Antony must cycle though this chain of binary oppositions. Storyboard That is passionate about student agency, and we want everyone to be storytellers. Interestingly, Rome was successful as a conquering nation because it was more likely to let people keep their way of life and just pay a tax to Rome, instead of making them give up their own culture entirely. Knowing the milieu the author lived in lets you take intelligent, educated guesses about what Shakespeare wanted to use to entertain his audiences. It is this very real history that drives the story line in the play.