Sunday, February 24, 2019
Cleopatra and Octavia Essay
Examine the production line surrounded by Cleopatra and Octavia. How do they embody distinct aspects of womanhood and how is this opposition useful in developing the themes and actions of the feed? How might the distinction be given different emphases in performance? Antony and Cleopatra is unitary of Shakespe bes most dramatic plays until now it has not been staged n aboriginal as many as plays much(prenominal) as Hamlet or Macbeth because it is such a hard play to produce due to its enormous variety of content.However the mere effectivity of the consultations within the play creates intense tragic possibilities, despite the difficulties that may be faced in production. Cleopatra and Octavia are contrasting characters in the play Antony and Cleopatra. to each one embodies different aspects of womanhood each is a model of the qualities that should be seen from the verdant and culture they belong to. The play centres around the contrast between the exorbitance of Egypt wit h the lineal qualities of the Roman Empire. Egypt is a country of luxurious feasts where eight fantastical boars are roasted for a breakfast for twelve people (2. 2.189-90) and parties it is a very sexualised place whereas capital of Italy is a country characterised by politics, scenes of intellectuals and battles, consequently the lives and loves of a Roman stand in opposition to the lives and loves of an Egyptian. Cleopatra is a symbolism of Egyptian luxury, passion and lust she is a highly sexualised woman and is not afraid or embarrassed to show this this is shown in her sexual intimation in reference to Antonys war horse Happy horse, to carry the weight of Antony Her own language often betrays her own sexual character this can be seen where Cleopatra speaks to the Messenger from RomeRam thou thy bacciferous tidings in mine ears, that long time assume been barren. (2. 5. 23-24) Egypt is a place dominated by strong-minded mature fe staminate sexual practice thus making t his play one of Shakespeares remarkable whole shebang due to its attitude to female sexuality as something natural, beautiful and open. Although Cleopatra is draw by some in the play as nothing more than than a gypsy slut to cool a gypsys lust (1. 1. 9) we understand from the differences between Egypt and Rome and their understandings of each other, that Cleopatra embodies Egypt and all it stands for and so cant be controlled or categorised as a Roman can be.Cleopatra allows men who have grown up in a world where expressing sexual ideas and fantasies is frowned upon, such as that of the view of Puritans in the time in which Shakespeare would have been writing this play to contact their activated centres and celebrate erotic possibilities. Cleopatra is one of Shakespeares most complex and thrive female characters he derives his information about her directly from Plutarchs characterization of her and the reputation she left behind.Cleopatra is a mixed character and has sudden s witches of demeanor from one mood to another, for instances the arrival of a messenger from Rome coition Cleopatra of Octavia, Antonys new bride. Cleopatra harasses the messenger for news, and is violent and abusive to him as she hasnt heard what she wants to, once her servants have calmed her down she feels remorseful and sorry for her actions that were must(prenominal) un analogous a royal action should be. Cleopatra is a irrational and irratic character who often replys to menial things, however this can be seen as her charge of reacting to the fear of losing what she knows Egypt and Antony.Her fear for losing and her sense of insecurity is seen through her jealously, that Shakespeare presents clearly in her wish to know what Octavia looks like, she is driven by these uncontrollable passions she feels towards Antony. Her feelings of insecurity are not submitd by Antony, and his treatment of both his wives Octavia and Fulvia doesnt settle her fears but instead gives her litt le cause for complacency, Now I see, I see, In Fulvias death how mine received shall be. (1. 3. 66) Cleopatra is both enticing and somewhat repellent and it is this mix that makes her such a mysterious and confusing mixture.Even Antony on occasions doesnt know how she will react and cant predict her actions or behaviour either. Antony loves Cleopatra because he wants to, not for any political thinks there is nothing or any reason why he should love Cleopatra, it is merely his choice. Our deep understanding of Cleopatras charm and enchantment comes from the descriptions we are given of her many of which are interpreted directly from The Life of Marcus Antonius in Sir Thomas sexual unions translation of the Roman historian Plutarchs Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans (1579). Here Cleopatra is compared to Venus, the goddess of Love.Shakespeare has taken Norths basic ideas and developed them to a point that the beauty of Cleopatra is seen roughly as supernatural. It is these descriptive speeches of Cleopatra that help the audience to understand the infatuation that Antony and others before, have had with Cleopatra For the person of herself She was laid under a pavilion of cloth of capital of tissue, apparelled and attired like the goddess Venus (North) It is this beauty that Cleopatra relies on to win all over men she feels herself to be the human incarnation of Isis Now from head to al-Qaeda I am marble constant.Now the fleeting moon no planet is of mine (5. 2. 237-240) and therefore men are captivated by her and become addicted by the strange power of Cleopatras attractiveness. It is tell by some that Cleopatra used her beauty and her body to gain what she postulate and what she felt was needed for Egypt, as Hughes-Hallet observed She captivates Antony and then uses her power over him to demand the Kingdoms of Syria and Arabia. (Hughes-Hallet, 165) Cleopatra is pictured as a strong leader of Egypt and in this respect has similarities with Elizab eth I who was on the throne of England through Shakespeares early life.She like Cleopatra was a dominant figure and felt she embodied Britain as Cleopatra embodied Egypt. How unlike Cleopatra, Elizabeth I was prepared to perceive and take advice from others who were experts in the field in question this resulted in her defeating the Spanish Armada. Unlike Cleopatra who although demanded to be treated as a general upon the war field refused to listen to advice which resulted in awful consequences and subsequently the lose of life for her and Antony. Rome is a place where the need for order and discipline is the norm there isnt room amongst the Politics and duties for sensuality and pleasure like in Egypt.It is this that causes Antony to be torn between the military honour and familial duty of Rome and the sensuality and luxurious life-style of Egypt. Rome is a predominantly male society which women have no say it is associated with action, mainly military and political action. Char ney describes it as a place of conference tables, armour, political decisions and hard materials objects (102) Octavia is a model of Roman qualities, of obedience and duty. In Shakespeares Antony and Cleopatra, her role is trim down greatly in comparison to that of the Octavia described in Plutarchs version.In this version she is seen as more of an independent figure rather than one completely dominated by male relations as portrayed by Shakespeare. By moving Octavia into background Shakespeare allows a greater contrast between Octavia and Cleopatra, thus highlighting the great differences of lives in Egypt and lives in Rome. Plutrach wrote of Octavias domestic virtues, whereas in Shakespeares play Octavia is ridiculed especially by Cleopatra as seen in act 3 scene 3 Messenger Madam, I heard her speak she is low-voiced Cleopatra Thats not so good. He cannot like her long.