The Elizabethan drama "Antony and Cleopatra is an insightful play exploring the intricacies of human nature, relationships and honour. Shakespeare explores the themes of appearance vs. reality, nature vs. artifice and emotions vs. rationality through both dramatic and literary techniques both in the play and Enorbarbus's speech describing Cleopatra's arrival. Audiences successfully gain cathartic release through both characterisation of the two main protagonists and through the skilful staging of techniques such as dramatic irony, soliloquy and imagery.
The theme of appearance versus reality closely illuminates Enorbarbus's speech about Cleopatra's arrival and the play in general. In his speech Enorbarbus recounts "the barge she sat in, was like a burnished throned, burning in the water." Ostensibly denotes with the use of simile the way Cleopatra's presence makes ordinary objects like a "barge" appear to be royal "like a burnished throne." The theme of appearance versus reality is portrayed further in the play through Pompey's perception of honour, "thou must know, Tis not profit that does lead mine honour, Mine honour it."
The repetition alongside the staging/ dramatic irony "[Menas and Pompey speak aside]" depicts that as Pompey persuades those around him that he is truly honourable, he is making sure that he does not appear greedy in the actions he takes, by putting both these virtues in the mind of the people he ensures that his true nature is hidden. Lastly the dramatic irony that the audience know how close the triumvirate were to being killed emphasises the reality of their fate. Thus the theme of appearance versus reality is portrayed in the play through literary techniques and staging techniques.
The theme of nature versus artifice is portrayed in the play and Enorbarbus's speech through characterisation and literacy techniques. The contrast between the nature of Antony and Cleopatra...