The Language Of Antony And Cleopatra

1742 words - 7 pages

The Language of Antony and Cleopatra

In act 1 scene 1, Philo begins by complaining to Demetrius that
Cleopatra has transformed Antony from a great general to a whore's
fool. The scene is based on the true love affair and the romance
between the two characters. However there is an ambiguous nature to
the passage, as we are not given a clear indication of Cleopatra's
feelings, whether she is angry or whether it is all light hearted. The
scene begins with Antony and Cleopatra entering, with great drama as
Cleopatra has Eunuchs fanning her and attending her every need.
Cleopatra is pushing Antony to describe how much he loves her and this
shows her ...view middle of the document...

'You must not stay here longer,-your dismission
Is come from Caesar; therefore hear it, Antony.-
Where's Fulvia's process?-Caesar's I would say?-Both?'

'When shrill-tongu'd Fulvia scolds.-The messengers!'

Cleopatra often associates herself with her country and is proud in
doing so. She exclaims that 'I am Egypt's queen' thus showing her
dominating character with the use of the word 'queen'. Antony
dramatically responds with, 'Here is my space' in order to
recapitulate his feelings towards her. The possessive pronoun, 'my'
emphasises his connection to both Cleopatra but also Egypt. This
presents the idea that his love for her is more important than his
kingdom and that the responsibility that is upon him bares no
importance to him whilst Cleopatra is in sight. His language is grand
and romantic. He provides visual imagery,

'Let Rome in Tiber melt, and the wide arch
Of the rang'd empire fall!'

This image evokes the grandeur of Rome and in all cases shows his
passion towards Cleopatra resulting in him neglecting his duties
towards Rome. The verbs 'melt' and 'fall' show that he is not
interested in Rome and shows his flippant nature. It also enables the
reader to see the control and influence Cleopatra posses over her
lover as she heard from him, exactly what she wanted and needed to
hear. It shows that Egypt is being used as an escape from the duties
of his empire, and in Alexandria Antony is able to live life, as he
loves to live it. His visual and dramatic dialogue is also show
through the words,

'Kingdoms are clay: our dungy earth alike
Feeds beast as man: the nobleness of life'

where we are given an insight into his heart and the words allow us to
focus on his true affections and emotions by his use of textural and
descriptive language. He describes Rome as 'clay' representing that
it's weak and impressionable, in contrast to his love for Cleopatra.

Cleopatra's speech depicts her complexity as a character: her
incredible emotional vicissitudes, her theatricality, her manipulative
streak, and her genuine passion for Antony. Despite this, she speaks
with a mocking tone and disregards all of Antony's efforts to please
her and her mood suddenly changes,

'Excellent falsehood!'

Her language is very dramatic and depicts her worrying and insecure
mind. She is worried that Antony does not love her in the same way
that he does not love Fulvia, even though he has married her. Although
her language is very dramatic it can be seen that she is insecure and
that she is a very indefinite character. Her playful and light-hearted
language is often used against Antony and in this way Cleopatra is
given the control of the situation, as she is able to manipulate
Antony through expressing her emotions. Cleopatra is represented in
many different ways through...

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