Anthony Cleopatra

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2002

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Act 1:1. How appropriate an introduction to the play do you find this scene.

The opening scene is a perfect introduction into the play, its a gateway to the rest of the book and it contains almost all the main themes.

The play opens with a crisis . Anthony is already infatuated with Cleopatra and he is neglecting his duties in Rome. Although the scene is relatively short it contains most of the major plots and sub-plots. The most obvious of these is Anthony's adoration of Cleopatra and the neglect of his duties. Also in the scene we see how much power Cleopatra has over Anthony, this is demonstrated by her provoking him into flattering her.

Through the scene and from the very outset we can see a growing disapproval of Anthony's behaviour and the Romans distaste for his descent from greatness. This is echoed in 1:4 by Octavius who Anthony is meant to respect and follow as he is his leader.

This decline in Anthony's once great stature suggests a war is brewing between Egypt an Rome and our fears are confirmed in act 3 when the two do war. The tensions between the two are apparent in the opening scene.

The play opens with a speech from Philo a soldier under Anthony's rule. In this opening speech we can see how displeased and demoralised the Roman soldiers may be.

"Have glowed like plated Mars, now bend now turn." In this quote Anthony has been compared to Mars. I t suggests hes done his due in battle but now like Mars he has turned from his proper business of defending Rome. This theme of Anthony's decline from power lasts throughout the play and by introducing it in the first scene we get a taste of whats to come. We see the same sort of distaste in 1:4. In this scene we see Octavius Caesar leader of Rome despairing at Anthony's behaviour.

"This is the news: He fishes, he drinks and wastes the lamp of night in revel." The first scene introduces us to the two main characters of Anthony and Cleopatra. It shows us their mind set and what they are really like. In Cleopatra we see a very seductive women with the ability to wrangle the wills of men. She can provoke Anthony pretty easily. Her seductive qualities are apparent throughout. As for Anthony we see him as a person who has no sense of values but we can relate to this because he is a very normal person. In these two people there is a recipe for disaster. the first scene suggest Anthony is susceptible to the charms of any women and as a result it will cause tension and ultimately tragedy.

The scene is set at a party , by doing this we can see the characters natural self . We can see Cleopatra the seductress and Anthony the drunken. We can see the plots and sub-plots of the play and the opening scene is probably the brightest and most optimistic as it all takes a down turn from then on in. The scene sets us up for tragedy so it is an excellent introduction.

The opening scene is the most appropriate introduction to the play that possibly could be. In the scene we are thrust head first into the plot and we can feel the severe tension between Egypt and Rome. In Cleopatra's response to the Roman messenger we can clearly see her dislike for Caesar.

"If the scarce bearded Caesar" At the time of the play Caesar is twenty three, later in the play Anthony calls upon him as "the young Roman boy" this clearly is a dig at Caesars inexperience . This tension is preparing us for the allout war between Egypt and Rome in act 3.

This scene gives us subtle hints of whats going to happen later on and as result it urges the audience to read or watch on. This is a very affective opening chapter and one which makes the play great.