Honor, Loyalty, and Betrayal Themes and Colors LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Antony and Cleopatra, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work. If, according to Roman consensus, Antony is the military hero and disciplined statesmen that Caesar and others believe him to be, then he seems to have happily abandoned his reason in order to pursue his passion.
The play, however, is more concerned with the battle between reason and emotion than the triumph of one over the other, and this battle is waged most forcefully in the character of Antony. More than any other character in the play, Antony vacillates between Western and Eastern sensibilities, feeling pulled by both his duty to the empire and his desire for pleasure, his want of military glory and his passion for Cleopatra.
As the play progresses, Antony continues to inhabit conflicting identities that play out the struggle between reason and emotion.
At one moment, he is the vengeful war hero whom Caesar praises and fears. Soon thereafter, he sacrifices his military position by unwisely allowing Cleopatra to determine his course of action. As his Roman allies—even the ever-faithful Enobarbus—abandon him, Antony feels that he has, indeed, lost himself in dotage, and he determines to rescue his noble identity by taking his own life.
At first, this course of action may appear to be a triumph of reason over passion, of -Western sensibilities over Eastern ones, but the play is not that simple.
Although Antony dies believing himself a man of honor, discipline, and reason, our understanding of him is not nearly as straight-forward. He is, in the end, a man ruled by passion as much as by reason.
Likewise, the play offers us a worldview in which one sensibility cannot easily dominate another. Reason cannot ever fully conquer the passions, nor can passion wholly undo reason.
The Clash of East and West Although Antony and Cleopatra details the conflict between Rome and Egypt, giving us an idea of the Elizabethan perceptions of the difference between Western and Eastern cultures, it does not make a definitive statement about which culture ultimately triumphs.
In the play, the Western and Eastern poles of the world are characterized by those who inhabit them: Caesar, for instance, embodies the stoic duty of the West, while Cleopatra, in all her theatrical grandeur, represents the free-flowing passions of the East. But the play resists siding with this imperialist impulse.
On the contrary, the Roman understanding of Cleopatra and her kingdom seems exceedingly superficial. To Caesar, the queen of Egypt is little more than a whore with a flair for drama.
The play suggests that the East will live on as a visible and unconquerable counterpoint to the West, bound as inseparably and eternally as Antony and Cleopatra are in their tomb. The Definition of Honor Throughout the play, characters define honor variously, and often in ways that are not intuitive.
Here, he explicitly links the notion of honor to to that of death, suggesting the latter as a surefire means of achieving the former.
The play bears out this assertion, since, although Antony and Cleopatra kill themselves for different reasons, they both imagine that the act invests them with honor. Both Antony and Cleopatra secure honorable deaths by refusing to compromise their identities.Plot Overview.
Two tribunes, Flavius and Murellus, find scores of Roman citizens wandering the streets, neglecting their work in order to watch Julius Caesar’s triumphal parade: Caesar has defeated the sons of the deceased Roman general Pompey, his archrival, in battle.
In Antony and Cleopatra, Shakespeare draws on true events to tell the story of Antony and Cleopatra's love. Cleopatra first joins forces with Antony, but then betrays him. In the end, he falls on.
In Antony and Cleopatra, Shakespeare uses grand evocative imagery for a variety of reasons such as juxtaposing Rome against Egypt, and to add different dimensions to the main characters. Moreover, there are a few overriding themes throughout the.
Dec 02, · Cassius and Brutus were the two main conspirators against Caesar, and Brutus was even the one who assassinated him. His plays have different themes like love, ambition, pride, friendship, supernatural. Continue Reading William Shakespeare's Presentation of Octavius Caesar in Antony and Cleopatra; Julius Caesar Essay: Mark Antony as the.
Learn and understand all of the themes found in Antony and Cleopatra, such as Honor. Learn how the author incorporated them and why.
Literature Study Guides Antony And Cleopatra Themes. Antony and Cleopatra | Study Guide The main characters must decide what honor means and how one demonstrates or acquires it. Plot Overview. Mark Antony, one of the three rulers of the Roman Empire, spends his time in Egypt, living a life of decadence and conducting an affair with the country’s beautiful queen, Cleopatra.