This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

The Truly Tragic Figure In Shakespeare's Antony And Cleopatra Is Cleopatra. Discuss

836 words - 3 pages

Barbara Everett rightly claims that the play ‘is continually suggestively of different kinds and categories of drama.’ This is not simply a tragedy and no character is simply and ‘truly’ tragic. However, Cleopatra, Antony and Enobarbus have tragic elements – grandeur, nobility, fateful misjudgements and a fall from the heights – as well as lesser qualities. It would be true to add, though, that Cleopatra is the dominating presence in the play.Even the hard-bitten Enobarbus is captivated by her, telling Antony he is ‘blest’ to have met her. In his great speech in Act 2:2, she is presented as queen, ricer goddess, rival to Venus and exquisite work of art. Gold, silver, mermaids, nymphs, perfumes and the enchanting sound of flutes combine to create a sensual paradise. This picture-painting is one f the chief means whereby Shakespeare establishes Cleopatra’s greatness; not moral or spiritual, but into the realm of myth: ‘Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale/ Her infinite variety.’ Antony, ‘the triple pillar of the world’, is left ‘whistling to th’air’ and so, by bathetic contrast, her commanding presence is accentuated.After Antony’s death her speeches of grief carry her into the tragic sphere since they piercingly convey her desolation: ‘The odds is gone, /And there is noting left remarkable/ Beneath the visiting moon.’ Equals Macbeth’s ‘Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow…’ as an expression of devastating loss and apprehension of meaninglessness. Her ‘dream’ of Antony is the supreme expression of her love for him – his features ‘kept their course and lighted/ the little O, the earth’ – and coming, as it does, after his death, this expression contains not only love, but the tragic realisation of what she has lost: the whole world.But is the final effect ‘truly’ or solely tragic? I A Richards claims that if a play has a compensating Heaven to offer the tragic hero, [the effect] is fatal.’ Cleopatra and Antony look forward to reunion in the Elysian fields and so, how can we feel the tragic reaction of pity? Jacobean audiences believed in some form of after-life and so would probably have been carried along on the promise of the lovers’ reunion; even a modern non-believer may feel their (deluded) belief counterbalances a ‘truly’ tragic effect.In addition, it may be said that Cleopatra has too many flaws for a tragic hero. Her extreme mood changes, her violence when she is thwarted, her never-explained...

Find Another Essay On The truly tragic figure in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra is Cleopatra. Discuss

William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra Essay

2655 words - 11 pages William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra In the play Antony and Cleopatra, the character of Cleopatra is one of many dimensions and be seen a person of complex diversity. Her personality is mainly about

William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra Essay

1112 words - 4 pages William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra “Heaven help the American-born boy with a talent for ballet” – Camille Paglia The prim and proper women and the strong and strapping men are no match for Shakespeare’s haze of character’s muddled together in Antony and Cleopatra. As always Shakespeare delivers a luminary cast of individuals that deviate from the socially accepted gender roles. As the audience works its way through the

William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra

1360 words - 5 pages William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra While Mark Antony is a great general, one of the three triumvant, it is indeed impossible to feel sympathy for him in his extreme "dotage" for Cleopatra. He "fishes, drinks and wastes the lamps of night in revel", hence destroying his own reputation, and even losing his masculinity

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

965 words - 4 pages The Character of Enorbarbus in William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra Enobarbus’s character can be seen as the most striking invention of Shakespeare. As the lieutenant of Antony, he contributes to the drama in a number of ways. He is sympathetic to Antony from the start, loyal and fellow feeling. Instead of agreeing with Antony at the beginning where he says he wishes he had never met Cleopatra, Enobarbus

Tragedy in "Antony and Cleopatra"

3525 words - 14 pages that the tragic in this play is for the most part of a 'Classical' type, since several features of it can be compared with classical Greek or French tragedies. In fact the tragic might be more prominent in this hybrid play (both historical play and tragedy) Antony and Cleopatra, than it is in some of Shakespeare's 'great tragedies' such as Othello.

Female Power, Maternity and Genderbending in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra

3243 words - 13 pages Female Power, Maternity and Genderbending in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra The 19th century essayist and literary critic William Hazlitt wrote of Cleopatra, "She is voluptuous, ostentatious, conscious, boastful of her charms, haughty, tyrannical, [and] fickle," which are "great and unpardonable faults" (Hazlitt 2-3). Much of the criticism of Antony and Cleopatra has recycled this judgement, depicting Cleopatra as a villainess

Shakespeare's Use of Language in Antony and Cleopatra

2734 words - 11 pages Shakespeare's Use of Language in Antony and Cleopatra Enobarbus uses the phrase "infinite variety" to describe the beauty and wonder of Cleopatra to Agrippa and Maecenas in Act 2 Scene 2. In the context of the whole play I believe it is a perfect description of how Cleopatra uses the different aspects of her character. Shakespeare uses language, imagery and structure to show the different sides of her personality

Politics and Love in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra

2234 words - 9 pages Politics and Love in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra Although the political struggles in Antony and Cleopatra are often treated as backdrops to the supposedly more engaging love affair between the two title characters, these struggles permeate the entire play, and give the love story its heightened sense of importance and tragedy. The relationship between Antony and Cleopatra would not have attained its renown and immortality had they

Greco-Roman Influence in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra

1514 words - 6 pages Greco-Roman Influence in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra   Greco-Roman mythological images seem to dominate Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra. Ever since the humanist revolution started, Renaissance writers, including Shakespeare, systematically tried to revive Greek literature and Greek mythology. It was an attempt to establish an alternative authority to Catholic scholastic dogma that has the stamp of antiquity. &nbsp

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

2376 words - 10 pages deaths of Antony and Cleopatra. There are suggestions that Caesar believes that they could have been successful partners. He says about them 'that our stars Unreconciliable.' It makes it seem as though Caesar believes it to be almost inevitable, as if it were fate that the ending was so tragic. This cours from coursework.info The way in which Caesar is compassionate when finding out about Cleopatra's death, again

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

Similar Essays

Essay Antony And Cleopatra In Shakespeare's Antony And Cleopatra, It Is Octavius Caesar Who Emerges As The Most Powerful Figure Throughout The Play. Discuss. (Approx. 1200 1500 Words)

1038 words - 4 pages In the play Antony and Cleopatra, Caesar is the character who emerges as the most powerful figure throughout the play, although ultimately it is Antony and Cleopatra who end up possessing the majority of the power over Octavius Caesar. These types of power include manipulative, sexual, political and military.Cleopatra uses sexual and manipulative power to acquire what she wants. For instance "You did know how much you were my conqueror, and that

Tragic Heroism In Shakespeare's Antony And Cleopatra

1719 words - 7 pages In the tragedy “Antony and Cleopatra”, Shakespeare presents our protagonist Mark Antony as a tragic hero. He does this by using a number of dramatically effective methods, including language, staging techniques and structure. Aristotle defines a tragic hero as a character of noble stature who has a tragic flaw (usually hubris which is over confidence/arrogance) and suffers a downfall that is partially their fault but also due to factors beyond

William Shakespeare's Presentation Of Cleopatra In Antony And Cleopatra

2998 words - 12 pages William Shakespeare's Presentation of Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra The presentation of Cleopatra in Act three Scene thirteen is quite ambiguous. Her presentation in the rest of the play is also very contrasting and distinct. I believe Shakespeare concentrated on demonstrating Cleopatra's personality and ambiguity to emphasise that, being the only central female in the play, it is even more surprising that she

Powerplay In Shakespeare's, 'antony And Cleopatra'

945 words - 4 pages Antony and CleopatraThroughout the play, Antony and Cleopatra, the charactors' use and manipulation of power have certain impacts on their decisions and their lives. Right from the outset, the audience is made aware of certain plays on power and the impact this has on the delicate relationships in the play. The plays theme of power play circulates mostly around the politics surrounding Antony and the Triumvirs and Antony's relationship with