Impressions Of Egypt And Rome In First Two Scenes Of Antony And Cleopatra

1554 words - 6 pages

Impressions of Egypt and Rome in First Two Scenes of Antony and Cleopatra

In the first two scenes of Antony and Cleopatra, we are introduced to
Egypt and Rome through the images and language used by the characters
in the play. Although the contrast between the two countries is
emphasised, we are also shown the way in which the two cultures are
often merged by the presence of the Romans in the Egyptian
environment. Egypt is predominantly presented to us as a liberal,
hedonistic society, where precedence is given to banquets and
pleasure-seeking, and it is full of female characteristics. On the
other hand, Rome is an extremely masculine, military-based society.
Importance is placed on discipline and physical strength, as opposed
to the self-interest which they see so much of in the Egyptian court.

Egypt is ruled by a Queen, which in itself is very significant as it
demonstrates the female-domination of Egyptian society. Cleopatra
occasionally mentions her dislike of the Roman ways, "A Roman thought
hath struck him," which shows the distance between the two cultures,
and suggest the Roman thoughts are violent and harsh. In fact, all the
Egyptians we have so far been introduced to are female, with the
exception of the Alexas, who is taunted by his female counterparts.
"O, let him/marry a woman that cannot go," Charmian playfully prays
that he will unable to consummate his marriage. We are also told of
the eunuchs, who have been castrated, and so had their male identity
removed. This suggests the sexual ambiguity in the court, and implies
that masculinity is not important.

The Egyptians are very sexually motivated and aware; they are not
restrained in their conversation about any subject. In the second
scene, Cleopatra's attendants talk openly about various sexual
matters, which demonstrates the sexually liberal society. The
Soothsayer in the scene implies that Charmian is extremely amorous,
"If every of your wishes had a womb/And fertile every wish, a
million," this shows the importance of physical pleasure to the
Egyptians. They also use sexual imagery in order to assert their
independence of males, Iras and Charmian predict that Alexas with
become, "Fiftyfold a cuckold." Charmian declares that she, "Loves long
life better than figs," and the implications here show that she would
rather enjoy her own life than waste it on a man. Iras also suggests
that, if she were to have an inch of better fortune, she would choose
it, "Not in my husband's nose," but rather in a more intimate region.
These extremely open discussions of sexuality add to the impression of
the laid-back hedonism that is displayed to us in Egypt.

Although Cleopatra speaks to Antony in verse, her attendants in scene
two speak wholly in prose. This allows them to have much greater
freedom in their language, and...

Find Another Essay On Impressions of Egypt and Rome in First Two Scenes of Antony and Cleopatra

William Shakespeare's Presentation of Octavius Caesar in Antony and Cleopatra

2376 words - 10 pages the reader how Caesar has strong emotional outcries, which contrasts his initial characteristics. The first impressions the audience gains of Caesar show him to be a complete contrast to what the audiences have previously observed about Antony, one of the other leaders in the Triumvirate. Caesar is very strong-minded about leadership, and prioritises rules and regulations over love and fun. This is one of the reasons

The Character of Enorbarbus in William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra

965 words - 4 pages replies that, had that been the case, Antony would have missed “a wonderful piece of work”. (I.2.154-5). He does not share the perspective of his fellow Roman soldiers Philo and Demetrius in the opening scene, in fact he seems to enjoy life in Egypt contributing with appreciative comments on Cleopatra. “Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety. (149 II.2.245) When Antony says of Cleopatra, “She is

Tragedy in "Antony and Cleopatra".

3525 words - 14 pages . The rivalry between Caesar and Antony is a tragedy for Rome, since it leads to civil war. Antony's death is of great consequence for the Roman Empire: 'The death of Antony / Is not a single doom, in the name lay / A moiety of the world' (Act V, scene I) says Caesar as he hears about his rival's suicide. The fall of Cleopatra is also the fall of Egypt, which becomes eventually a part of the Roman Empire. By killing herself, Cleopatra does not only

Antony and Cleopatra- powerplay

691 words - 3 pages . Antony, a major Roman political figure that has fallen in love with the Egyptian queen Cleopatra. Antony has abandoned his responsibilities and duties in Rome to remain with Cleopatra in Egypt. Shakespeare uses a variety of literacy and visual techniques, to raise contrasting representations about the nature and roles involved within power plays.Antony becomes self-indulgent, and tends to blur the line between duty and romance. Antony highlights

Antony and Cleopatra

796 words - 3 pages Mark Antony, one of the three rulers of the Roman Empire, spends his time in Egypt, living a life of decadence and conducting an affair with the country's beautiful queen, Cleopatra. When a message arrives informing him that his wife, Fulvia, is dead and that Pompey is raising an army to rebel against the triumvirate, Antony decides to return to Rome. In Antony's absence, Octavius Caesar and Lepidus, his fellow triumvirs, worry about Pompey's

Antony and Cleopatra

5856 words - 23 pages authors. Most telling in this respect is the effect that Cleopatra's letters appear to have. There are two scenes in which Cleopatra is portrayed as a sender of letters (1.5 and 3.3). In the first, she declares:Who's born that dayWhen I forget to send to Antony,Shall die a beggar.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .He shall have every day a several greeting,Or I'll unpeople Egypt. (1.5.63-6; 77-8)Despite this prolific letter

Shakespeare's Plays of Love and Tragedy:Romeo & Juliet/Antony & Cleopatra.

2264 words - 9 pages his great love for Cleopatra. In this play there are many conflicting demands of love and duty that create war. Antony and Rome represent masculine reason, duty, and politics. Cleopatra and Egypt represent the intuitive female and mystical side of life. Yet, the play seems to be dominated not by Antony but by Cleopatra.Both plays use this violence as a reason the two lovers should stay apart, but their passion proves more important then fighting

Essay on the Love Story of Antony and Cleopatra

1659 words - 7 pages comedy in the pleasurable Egypt. In due course Antony could not sustain his duty to Rome, confused by his unwillingness and incapability to disregard his passion for Cleopatra. He most flippantly wed Octavia knowing fully that he could not give up his prior love. He relayed "I will to Egypt: And though I make this marriage for my peace, I’ th’ East my pleasure lies" (2.3.39-41). His underestimation of consequence at this time directly led to his

Antony and Cleopatra essay

1359 words - 5 pages extremely artificial and, in their artifice, extremely attractive. Shakespeare’s characters speak in verse and rhythmic iambic pentameter to capture the essence of the powerful illusions upon which they are entirely dependent to maintain their influence. This is most overly true of Cleopatra, the quintessential drama queen. Her attempts to keep Antony from returning to Rome in the first act are evident of this. Even as she is disparaging Caesar

Triumph Over Tragedy in Antony and Cleopatra

1956 words - 8 pages play is marked by the tension that Antony feels as a result of the conflict between his love for Cleopatra and the pleasures of Egyptian life, with his sense of duty as a Roman warrior and a member of the triumvirate. Although he returns to Rome to carry out his duties, Antony places superior value on the love that he and Cleopatra have for one another. Cleopatra is worth the world to him and he declares to her, "Let Rome in Tiber melt, and the wide

Tragic Heroism in Shakespeare's Antony And Cleopatra

1719 words - 7 pages their control. The downfall they suffer exceeds the “crime” but the tragic hero gains some sort of self-awareness. Before the audience meets Antony, Shakespeare presents us with two soldiers discussing Antony’s current debauched life. This is dramatically effective staging because they are acting as a Greek chorus; relaying to the audience the general feeling in Rome and making us privy to feelings of irritation that Antony is unaware of. Philo

Similar Essays

Shakespeare’s Presentation Of Rome And Egypt In Antony And Cleopatra

1739 words - 7 pages Shakespeare’s Presentation of Rome and Egypt in Antony and Cleopatra As the title clearly suggests, Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra is based around the extraordinary relationship among two distinctive individuals, one a Roman general and the other an Egyptian queen. Along with Caesar who is also a Roman general, these entities dominate the play’s tragic storyline progression. However whilst Antony and Cleopatra

This Is An Analysis Of The Meaning And Significance Of The First Two Scaffold Scenes In The Scarlet Letter.

959 words - 4 pages watching and waiting when Hester and Pearl arrive. Also, the times of day that the scenes occur in are different. In the first scene the narrator says that it is a summer morning and in the second scaffold scene the narrator comes right out and says, "It was an obscure night of early May." (129).The significance of the chapter is that it portrays that Dimmesdale is showing signs of weakness dealing with the fact that he is Pearl's father and isn't

William Shakespeare's Presentation Of Cleopatra In Antony And Cleopatra

2998 words - 12 pages relates Cleopatra's behaviour in Act three scene thirteen to the way in which the whole Act is structured. Cleopatra is very confused and the scenes represent this by being quite abrupt and out of sequence. All of the scenes in this Act are reasonably short and near the end of the Act, they do not seem to be linking together as well as usual. This is represented through the melting imagery in this Act, 'Let Rome into Tiber

Shakespeare's Use Of Language In Antony And Cleopatra

2734 words - 11 pages the argument with Enobarbus over her involvement in the battle. This shows how Cleopatra changes her character to best suit the situation. In both Antony and Cleopatra's final scenes Cleopatra is shown by Shakespeare to be a queen rather than a woman or lover. In Act 4 Scene 14 the character of Antony says to Cleopatra "I'm dying, Egypt, dying", this presents her as primarily a queen and a ruler. I believe this is of