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Analysis Of Sexism Displayed In Antony And Cleopatra

1075 words - 5 pages

Reading Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare one finds a borderline love story that exists in the easy to define plot. But digging deeper brings up the many inside battles that are raging on throughout this story. East vs. west in the ruling styles and culture of Julius Caesar and Cleopatra. How Egypt and Rome represents men vs. women and the sexism that Shakespeare creates for Cleopatra and Antony. Whether there is no doubt that these things exist, taking them into further analysis may bring up the real controversy behind Shakespeare’s famous tragedy.
East vs. west, the historical question of which one is best, this question is impossible to answer but one can analyse the strengths ...view middle of the document...

When he first arrived with Enobarbus they drank and feasted and when Antony wanted to leave but Enobarbus had fallen for Egypt’s luxurious lifestyle and tried to convince Antony to stay. Antony leaves but soon returns for Cleopatra and her irresistibility. The part of Egypt that is so attractive to him is the freedom of expression and emotion. In Rome emotion is to be contained underneath duty and reason.
This brings up the argument of Caesars Rome is masculine and Cleopatra’s Egypt is feminine. Caesar is the embodiment of all the virtues that Rome embodies. Honor, duty, reason above emotion. While Cleopatra embodies all the values of Egypt, extravagance, emotion above reason, and passion. All of these are arguably either feminine or masculine, the masculine applying to Rome and Caesar and feminine applies to Cleopatra’s Egypt. That is why Shakespeare is seen as being sexist, his thought to put this big of a controversy into his book while making Cleopatra, not necessarily look weaker, but more deceptive and conniving. She is the one that removes Anthony from his duty, she creates a love story that eventually leads to his death as well as hers. Cleopatra was the temptress, Cleopatra was the with, Antony was the hero who could not shake her lust and witchcraft to return to his normal self. Caesar and Rome feared that Cleopatra was changing Antony to become more feminine.
One of the reasons that Caesar and Rome disliked Cleopatra was that she had the ability to change a man, Antony, to become more feminine and no longer masculine. It begins when Cleopatra convinces Antony to cross-dress with her. This act causes disruption upon the Romans. They think that Cleopatra is using evil magic to transform Antony into a woman and therefore he would no longer be a Roman hero. “not more manlike / Than Cleopatra, not the queen of Ptolemy / More womanly than he” (1.4.5-7) Caesars’ symbol of power, Antony, he fears has been “transformed/ Into a trumpet fool” (1.1.12-13) Antony represented the social ideals of Rome and everything it stood for. Cleopatra, and her feminist Egypt, ruined it all.
Cleopatra’s historical role is something much greater that...

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