In Shakeapear's play, Antont and Cleopatra, How does Enobarbus' description of Cleopatra in her barge re - inforce what we have already learned of Egypt and its queen?

Essay by pop February 2003

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The scene in which this speech takes place is Act 2 Scene 2, and we have already been introduced to many of the main characters. We have had our first impressions of everything in the play, and of all the characters in the play. So far, we have learned that Egypt was regarded as a place plagued with pleasure - seekers and people who 'live for the moment'. Romans regard it as a disrespectful place of sin, and those there values are much less respected than the Romans. The stereotypical Egyptian is a 'strumpet, or a 'gypsy' *Act 1 Scene 1), and this is basically a person without moral values. They do not respect the Egyptian people, and they see Cleopatra as a typical Egyptian - Philo makes this clear to us from the beginning. However, we learn that Egypt is a wealthy and beautiful country and almost the total opposite and contrast of Rome.

Rome is a place of honour and work, where Egypt is devoted to pleasure and the pursuit of happiness. The relaxing atmosphere of Egypt is reflected in the people and their attitudes. The fact that our first meeting with Cleopatra sees her with a train of people and a parade reflects that the people are proud of their country and this is reflected in their attitudes towards their queen. Her two maids, Iras and Charmian love her and try very hard to be as attractive as she is to men. They constantly talk about men and husbands, and they try to give her advice on her relationship with Mark Antony, but they cannot be like her. She is highly respected among the Egyptian people; it seems as though they are proud to have her as their queen. We are not actually given a...