Open University and Bathing Nymphs

Topics: Open University, Milton Keynes, Cultural depictions of Cleopatra VII Pages: 4 (1209 words) Published: January 30, 2013
Part 1 Cleopatra

Carefully read the following extract several times. What does this passage suggest about the relationship between Cleopatra and Anthony? Compare this with how the relationship is portrayed in the other written source material from the classical period in Book 1, Chapter 1.

It is not stated whether Cleopatra's flatterers were under her instruction to persuade Anthony or not, but if they were then she was clearly manipulating his decisions through a third party influence. Cleopatra may have loved Anthony, but she also needed him around for political gain. The flatterers' insult of Anthony as 'an insensitive brute with a heart of stone' would have played to his masculinity whilst also condemning it and implored him to soften in the face of Cleopatra's femininity. The statement that Anthony's current wife was only with him for personal and political gain, while Cleopatra was powerful herself and only wanted to be with him. These contrasts would have worked to convince him of a loving and perfect Cleopatra, and imply their relationship was more important than politics. The objective being to create an image of Cleopatra that Anthony would be unable to resist, and an image of himself that barely deserved her. It is portrayed that Cleopatra had control of the relationship which had a negative effect on Anthony's career, as Cleopatra used him to improve hers. Although Anthony would have had an idea of Cleopatra's likeliness to do what she wanted and take control, he was infatuated with her. Even without the influence of the flatterers, would not have wanted to lose her; so when they said that 'if he drove her away it would be the death of her' he would have felt he had no choice but to stay. This passage does hint at love and romance between the two, but it also indicates much reluctance and sacrifice; so the relationship between Anthony and Cleopatra appears codependent and suffocating. The flatterers here 'melted down and unmanned him',...
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