How Does Act 1 of Antony and Cleopatra Prepare the Reader for Tragedy?

Topics: Cleopatra VII, Mark Antony, Alexandria Pages: 3 (955 words) Published: October 6, 2011
How does Act 1 of Antony and Cleopatra prepare the audience for tragedy? In this essay i will discuss how act of Antony and Cleopatra prepare the audience for tragedy. Firstly the character of Antony is one of three who rule Rome after the assassination of Julius Caedar. But Antony’s popularity is shortlived, as Shakespeare’s audience discovers when Act I opens in Alexandria, Egypt, where Antony languishes under the spell of Cleopatra’s incomparable beauty and charm. She spends her every wile and witchery on binding his heart to hers—and the world and Rome be damned.Cleaopatra is the queen of Eqypt. The first three scenes of Act One all take place in Queen Cleopatra's palace, in Alexandria. They establish quickly the conflict between duty and passion, ambition and pleasure, Rome and Egypt. They also showcase Cleopatra's complexity: her incredible emotional variation, her theatricality, her manipulative streak, and her genuine passion for Antony. The first scene is short, and framed by the criticising comments of Philo and Demetrius, two of Antony's men. 'And is become the bellows and the fan to cool a gipsy's lust' The Roman soldiers disapprove of Antony's corrupt affair with the queen, and are quick to write her off as a whore and Philo calls her a gipsy, which in Shakespeare's time connoted sorcery, treachery, and cheap trickery the conversation between Philo and Demetrius also foreshadows the downfall of Antony as they describe his current behaviour compared to his past behaviour when he faught in the war 'the triple pillar of the world transormed into a strumpet's fool' which shows that Antony was a very strong leader before he met Cleopatra and the use of the phrase 'strumpet' describing cleopatra suggests that she is very promiscous. This suggests that from the beginning of the play Shakespear has started to created rivals towards Antony's behaviour as a result of Cleopatra which is why he insults her and which makes the reader prepare for tragedy...
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