Antony And Cleopatra Essay Research Paper Nature

Antony And Cleopatra Essay, Research Paper

Nature, described as mysterious and secretive, is a recurrent theme throughout

Shakespeare?s Antony and Cleopatra. Cleopatra, the ill-fated queen of Egypt,

is both mysterious and secretive, and her emotional power is above and beyond

nature?s great strength. Whether described in a positive or in a negative

manner, both nature and Cleopatra are described as being ?great natural

forces.? Throughout the first act, the two are compared and contrasted by

various characters in the play. The first act, set in Alexandria, Egypt, sets

the stage for the play and presents the majority of the actors. Scene two

introduces one of the major themes of the play, Nature. This raunchy, innuendo-

filled scene has two of Cleopatra?s close friends and one of Antony?s

discussing her and Antony?s life. Charmian, one of Cleopatra?s best friends,

Alexas, one of Cleopatra?s servants (as well as the link between her and

Antony), Enobarbus, one of Antony?s trusted Lieutenants, as well as a

Soothsayers are all present and discussing their fortunes. During this

discussion, the Soothsayer states, ? In Nature?s infinite book of secrecy/ A

little I can read? (I.ii.10-11). The Soothsayer explains to the others that

there is little she can do outside of not only her powers, but also what nature

allows her to. One of the first references to nature and the mystery that

revolves around it, this quote simply demonstrates how little power the people

have over something as great as nature. Nature and the elements surrounding it

are simply a mystery to the people of Rome. In his discussion with his

commanding Lieutenant, Enobarbus refers to Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt and

Antony?s soon-to- be lover, as a great natural force that is above nature?s

powers. In the second scene of the first act, Antony states, ?She is cunning

past man?s thought? (I.ii.145). This statement is then followed by Enobarbus?

statement about Cleopatra: ??her passions are made of noth/ing but the

finest part of pure love. We cannot call her /winds and waters sighs and tears;

they are greater /storms and tempests than almanacs can re- port. This/ cannot

be cunning in her; if it be, she makes a show?r of /rain as well as Jove?

(I.ii.146-151). In this quote, Enobarbus shows great respect and admiration

towards Cleopatra. Not only does he defend her from Antony?s statement, but

also he regards her with such high esteem that he compares her to Jove, the

ruler of the gods in charge of rain, thunder, and lightning. In the latter part

of the play, Cleopatra affirms the claim made by Enobarbus stating that her

powers are greater that nature?s. In scene 13 of the third act, she states,

?Ah, dear, if I be so, / From my cold heart let heaven engender hail, / And

poison it in the source, and the first stone/ Drop in my neck;?

(III.xiii.158-161). In her discussion with Antony, Cleopatra is openly asserting

her ?supernatural? powers that she believes she has. Not only does she

believe she has supernatural powers, but she also believes that she is Egypt.

Throughout the first act, various characters claim and make references to

Cleopatra as being ?Egypt? itself. On page __________________. These claims

are later affirmed several times towards the end of the play. In his discussion

with Lepidus and Pompey, Antony states, ?The higher Nilus swells. / The more

it promises,? (pg.56). In referring to Egypt and its conditions, Antony has

made the comparison between Cleopatra and Egypt. In this quote, Antony states

two things: That Egypt rises and falls along with Cleopatra, and Cleopatra is

comparable to the nature of Egypt. This statement not only makes the comparison

between Cleopatra and Egypt, but by Antony obliviously stating that Cleopatra

?is Egypt?, he reaffirms Cleopatra?s great natural strength. In

Shakespeare?s Antony and Cleopatra, nature, the elements surrounding it and

its mystery are continuously compared to Cleopatra. In several instances in the

book, we see Cleopatra?s strength over God?s natural powers. Throughout the

first act as well as in the latter acts of the novel, references are made to

both nature and to Cleopatra?s powers over it.


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