A real eye-opener

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To start off, I have never read this play before. Naturally, I had a difficult time understanding it but after I read it once through and thought about it, I feel that I have at least a basic knowledge of what is going on. I found a few interesting topics to discuss.

The first thing that interested me took place in Act I Scence 2. At this part in the play, Antony is informed that his wife is dead. Now, from his relationship with Cleopatra shown earlier in the play, you would think that he doesn't really care for her. However, when he finds out this news, his attitude totally changes.

ANTONOY
There's a great spirit gone! Thus did I desire it.
What our contempts doth often hurl from us,
We wish it ours again. The present pleasure,

Then, when Enobarbus starts giving his talk about how there are other fish in the sea, Antony seems to miss his wife more. To me, this is beginning to describe Antony's characteristics. I don't know how this story ends, but I'm willing to bet that one of Antony's flaws are his uncertainty, or his willingness to please others before himself.

The other thing that really interested me is dealing with Cleopatra's character. I think the first time Shakespeare really let's us see what kind of character she is, is when Enobarbus is describing her ship to Agrippa in Act II Scene 2. In this dialog he says

The barge she sat in, like a vurnished throne,
Burned on the water. The poop was beaten gold;
purple the sails, and so perfumed that
The winds were lovesick with them. The oars were silver,
Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke and made
The water which they beat to follow faster,

From this we can see that she is a very pompous, ellegant, and somewhat "cocky" individual. However, in scene 5, when we get an even better picture of her. In fact, I was a little scared myself. When the messanger came to tell her that Antony had married Octavia, she was kind to him, and then (somewhat like Antony did earlier) totally turned around and started literally beating the servant because of the news he brought. Obviously she had never heard the old cliche, "don't shoot the messanger."

MESSENGER
Good Madam, patience.

CLEOPATRA
What say you? Hence,
Horrible villian, or I'll spurn thine eyes like balls before me! I'll unhair thy head,
Thou shalt be whipped with wire and stewed in brine,
Smarting in ling'ring pickle.

WOW! I do not want to mess with her. From this however, we do see her love for Antony.

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5 Comments

Reading your blog really helped me understand what I didn't. I guess you don't know what you have until it's gone. I think the passion between Antony and Cleopatra is quite like a soap opera. This should be interesting to read.

Erin, a soap opera aims to stretch a single conflict out over weeks or months of story time, always putting the resolution off until the next commercial break or the next ratings sweeps period. But Shakespeare is working with a set of historical facts that determine how his main characters ended up, and he doesn't feel a need to provide additional material for next season or Antony and Cleopatra II. Thus, as we'll see, he won't hold back. I hope you'll find the conclusion satisfying.

Andy i agree with you. I felt the same way about Antony marrying Octavia. I thought it was ironic that u said "Dont shoot the messanger", because that is EXACTLY what i said in my head when i read scene 5.

Erin, i actually felt that Antony and Cleopatra were similar to a soap opera as well. But in a very broad aspect. Shakespeare is very good at what he writes and how he incoprpoates his works with love. I can see what you mean with the drama,and soaps, Shakespeare knows drama and he incorporates that as well.

Antony seems to be one of those fellas who likes to relax and have a good time until something breaks. Then he realizes how ridiculous he's been behaving.

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This page contains a single entry by Andy published on February 19, 2006 10:02 PM.

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