In the play Antony and Cleopatra Shakespeare portrays Cleopatra's character in many different ways; she is show to be a lustful prostitute, a professional queen and as a beautiful woman who is passionately in love with Antony.
Shakespeare places ideas about Cleopatra from the very beginning of the play, in philo's speech for example, in which she is described as having "gypsy's lust." Gypsy's in Jacobean times where highly associated with witchcraft and so he is describing her as a lustful witch. In Shakespeare's time this would be the view of the people in the audience, that she was a which that catches victims with her beauty and power. She is also described as a "strumpet" which was a word meaning a prostitute this is a very derogatory noun.
Shakespeare from the very mention of Cleopatra shows that she is teasing and downgrading Antony. The first words she speaks in the whole of the play are "If it be love indeed tell me how much" to Antony immediately she is testing him, this causes the audience to feel she is an unpleasant character who is causing trouble for Antony and obviously doesn't love Antony but treats him appallingly as a lover. Later on in the play when Antony is in Rome away from Cleopatra she still teases him by getting her messengers to say that " if you find him sad, say I am dancing" Shakespeare also shows Cleopatra's qualities as a person through his use of poetry in her speeches. "eternity is in our lips and in our eyes" and "bliss in brows bent" both show this through the alliteration of the words. This shows her mystical presence to the audience.
Shakespeare portrays Cleopatra's personality through the use of Antony's realisation that he needs to escape from her. Antony decides that "I must from this enchanting queen break off" Shakespeare uses the adjective enchanting to show the audience that she is magical and a which helping him to Egypt by supernatural means.
In the first act of the play... [continues]
Cite This Essay
(2006, 01). Cleopatra. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 01, 2006, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Cleopatra-76892.html
"Cleopatra" StudyMode.com. 01 2006. 01 2006 <http://www.studymode.com/essays/Cleopatra-76892.html>.
"Cleopatra." StudyMode.com. 01, 2006. Accessed 01, 2006. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Cleopatra-76892.html.