Antony Is a Tragic Hero

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Anthony and Cleopatra was written in 1607, following the incredible period that gave us Hamlet, Orthello, King Lear and Macbeth. Although sometimes hard to categorise, some put this play with Julius Caesar and Corialanus, the Roman plays: all three use Plutharch’s lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans as their primary source and all three have concerns steeped in historical and political questions. Shakespeare shows an impressive ability to assimilate the classical world in his own terms and this is partly a tribute to the strength and vitality of Plutarch’s writing. Yet, although Shakespeare alters Plutarch freely to match his own dramatic purposes, Plutarch’s power to speak for his time and place shines through Shakespeare’s…show more content…
Even with this conflict, Shakespeare perfectly depicts Anthony’s love and dotage of Cleopatra. Shakespeare uses language to contrast the cultures within Rome and Egypt. The Roman characters speak in balanced, ordered blank verse which suggests the regularity and order of their way of life . When speaking of Fulvia’s death Anthony’s speech changes to perfect cambic pentameter when he says “The opposite of itself, She’s good being gone “implying his shocked reaction and mixed emotion. He should be happy that she is dead so now he can spend his life with his “enchanting queen “, Cleopatra but he is not . He seems shocked at word of her death. The same rhythm is taken up in a greatly relaxed manner by the teasing of Anthony and Cleopatra. Cleopatra taunts “If it be love indeed, tell me how much “ and Anthony replies with “there’s beggary in the love that can be reckoned “. In Egypt the characters speak mainly in phrase, showing their casual, relaxed and sensous approach to life. The conversation is frivolous, sexual and scattered with gossip . “Not now to hear thee sing. I take no pleasure in alight a eunuch has. Tis well for thee that, being unseminar’d thy freer thoughts may not fly forth of Egypt. Has thou affections?” The language that Anthony uses towards Cleopatra is sensual and laden with metaphors like: “many thousand kisses, the poor last/ I lay you thy lips
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