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February 20, 2006


Antony and Cleopatra (Acts III-V) -- Jerz: Intro to Literary Study (EL150)

What can I say, Shakespeare certainly didn't hold back on the ending of this play. I really really enjoyed this play and everything that happened in it. I found it interesting and entertaining as well.

In Act III, Scenes 8 & 9, Shakespear only writes 10 lines combined. However, these two super-short scenes really foreshadowed things for me personally, and defined each character's personality. In scence 8, Ceasar is confident. He is ordering his soldiers, he knows what he wants, and he's ready to enforce it. In scene 9, the opposite seems to occur. Antony, instead of being confident and bold in his decisions, he seems to be waiting for Ceasar act and then he will counter-act. It gives the impression that he is in a defensive mode and as the story progressed we find out that Antony plays pretty much the defensive end of things in many of the battles.

I felt throughout the play that Enobarbus was the voice of reason. In scence 13, of Act III after Cleopatra fled from the battle, she wants to know what they should do now. Enobarbus simply replies,

Think, and die.

To me, he sees right through the face of love that Antony and Cleopatra are playing each other with. He realizes that this is a life and death situation and that both of them are being blinded by their love. With this line, I feel that Enobarbus (the voice of reason) is finally convinced that the situation is hopeless. Because of this, he trades sides, and then because of overwhelming guilt and fear, he ends up killing himself. For some reason, he was my favorite character.

I found it noble of Antony to send Enobarbus's treasures and chests to him after he knew he had traded sides. He still respected him and knew that he was only trying to survive. It stunned me thought that Antony didn't react like he previously had in situation by letting his temper get the better of him. I mean, he ususally would have flipped out (which I think was one of his character flaws) but instead he gives in, which I feel represents him giving up and accepting that he isn't going to survive. This is beautifully written.

The thing that got to me the most at the end of the play was Cleopatra. What a guilt trip! When Antony thought she had betrayed him, he lashed out at her, and instead of calming him down and trying to be a comforter for him, she hides. Okay, I can understand that she was scared. But when Cleopatra, and Charmian send word to Antony that Cleopatra has slain herself, that's just ridiculous.

To th' monument!
Mardian, go tell him I have slain myself.
Say that the last I spoke was "Antony"
And word it, prithee, piteously. Hence, Mardian,
And bring me how he takes my death. To th' monument!

In essence, the childish games that Cleopatra and Antony played during the whole play with each other, such as jealousy and guilt, lead to both of their downfalls. The amazing thing, well not really, is that Antony fell for it and decided to die himself.

I feel that it all boils down to people's egos and their personal motives. In this play, Shakespeare gives every character one similarity, they all look out for number one. Yes, Cleo and Antony loved each other, but as we see in the Scene 14, both of them are extremely concerned with their self-image. I also think that Shakespeare took this opportunity to put some of his ideas about the good things and bad things of love in his work. Overall, I really liked this play and look forward to seeing it live at SHU.

Posted by AndrewLoNigro at February 20, 2006 07:25 PM

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