Antony And Cleopatra Essay Research Paper Love
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Antony And Cleopatra Essay, Research Paper Love and politics are two themes central to the story of Antony and Cleopatra. Antony, the hero of the tragedy, is seen as a man caught between two worlds- the fantasy microcosm of Alexandria, and the titanic responsibilities and honours of the triumvirate, whilst his lover Cleopatra is the ruler of Egypt. Between them, they have political authority over half the known world, so theirs is a relationship embroiled in political significance. The language that Shakespeare uses to portray these two principle dimensions of the play is therefore integral, in order to evoke the tragedy the author intends. For Antony and Cleopatra s tragedy explores almost a crown on death, a total, unprecedented political collapse. The two extremes, love and death, seem to unite in speech. The culmination of the play sees to die as symbolic of total love. Conversely, to love is also to die. Enobarbus, Charmian, Iras, Cleopatra and Antony all die at the height of their love or loyalty. Clearly such tragedy of political and romantic importance requires a diverse and complex deployment of language, and it is this technique that I now seek to explore. The language of love in Antony and Cleopatra is one of the plays greatest pleasures. The magnificence of the poetic lexis is what elevates the characters in the imagination, and sustains their larger than life status. It is majestically exaggerated- take the picture of Cleopatra on her barge sailing down the river Cydnus to meet Antony, w hich ends in a praise of her infinite variety she herself envisages Antony as the demi-Atlas of this earth. Her dream of Antony after he is dead his legs bestrid the ocean is similarly grand. Her response to the death of Antony, the crown o th earth doth melt , and her own words as she is about to commit suicide give me my robe, put on my crown, I have Immortal longings in me sustains the portrayal through language of the lovers, and their relationship, reaching beyond mortality. Certainly, this use of hyperbole in the language of love is one that is evident from the very start of the play, as Philo says of Antony this dotage of our generals o erflows the measure and continues when Cleopatra says to her lover I ll set a bourn how far to be belov d, he replies Then must thou needs find out new heaven, new earth. The reader can constantly see imagery in the text of the love being limitless, almost too much, and this can certainly be seen to contribute to the eventual downfall of them both. At this point it must also be noted that this amorous, image laden language is archetypal of the world of love in Antony and Cleopatra . For Antony, Alexandria is a place where he can exert his imagination and dreams- where he becomes tempted by the soft life and his passion for Cleopatra. This type of language is a neccesity in portraying this, the hyperbole and other imagery all contributing to Antony’s dreamworld. Antony realises this to an extent, as can be seen from his exclamations such as These strong Egyptian fetters I must break, or lose myself in dotage. The versatility of love in the play can be seen in the myriad of situations in which the lovers are placed, and the facets of their emotions that we see- egotism, envy, anger, jealousy, loyalty, trust, infatuation, passion, sexuality, and, most of all, companionship. In Act III, scene eleven, Antony reproaches Cleopatra, but when she begs his pardon he forgives her, showing loyalty and trust. When he thinks she has been flirting with Caesar s messenger, he flies into a rage You were half blasted ere I knew you: ha? Forborne the getting of a lawful race, and by a gem of women, to be abus d by one that looks on feeders displaying jealousy of his lover, anger at her, and a level of hurt and insecurity in the reaction. Perhaps the most harmonious scene between the two occurs when she is arming him for battle, in Act IV scene four.