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 taking life as one big celebration most of
her time in Egypt. Cleopatra loves the richness of her own queen
status and loves the celebration that comes with it. Her personality
varies because she can change from being a woman with dignity to a
woman acting insane. Her sudden changes in behaviour are often
difficult to predict or comprehend and happen frequently throughout
You can never guess what Cleopatra is going to next. This is why
Enobarbus observes Cleopatra as if she has ‘infinite variety’.
Whether it is an accurate observation is what people question when
looking at the famous Enobarbus speech of Cleopatra.
She mainly deserves this famous tribute from Enobarbus for many
“Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale/Her infinite
There are many reasons that Enobarbus’ observation of Cleopatra’s
infinite variety is an accurate observation.
Firstly Act 2:Scene 2 sees Enobarbus talking openly to Agrippa and
Maecenas about Cleopatra’s wild and wonderful ways. He describes in
intricate detail the barge she sailed to the harbour in and how even
the air would gaze upon her if it could.
‘Whistling to th’air, which, for vacancy, /had gone to gaze on
Cleopatra too,/ And made a gap in nature’.
This portrays her queen-like status and beauty and it is easy to see
why Antony falls in love with her. Is the romantic perception of
Cleopatra made my Enobarbus a realistic one? You hardly ever see her
being romantic so therefore Enobarbus’ perception of Cleopatra may not
be an accurate perception of Cleopatra.
However this famous tribute in which Enobarbus uses to describe
Cleopatra may not be an accurate observation because Enobarbus’ speech
is very romantic and lyrical.
The way Shakespeare uses paradoxes within this famous tribute is to
try and show the variety within her personality.
“To glow the delicate cheeks which they did cool”
This paradox of fire and water (glow and cool), portrays that, is this
the reality of Cleopatra? , Or is it just an imaginative perception of
Cleopatra. Is this the infinite variety Enobarbus is talking about, to
some extent this is not an accurate perception of Cleopatra’s
personality because Enobarbus is under the influence of the Egyptian
delights and enjoyments, in which Cleopatra has influenced him into.
Enobarbus’ speech follows with a less lyrical and exotic...