"A triple pillar of the world or a strumpet's fool?" - Impressions of Antony

Essay by sxc71288High School, 12th grade March 2006

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Antony and Cleopatra is a Shakespearian play that focuses on the events that

take place whilst Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt and Antony, a member of the

triumvirate in Italy, are conducting a highly visible love affair. Whilst

Cleopatra is portrayed as a strong, manipulative and selfish woman, Antony

is shown to be weak and easily influenced when with Cleopatra, but powerful

and level-headed when running his country. However, it is hard to determine

whether Antony is the "strumpet's fool" he appears to be when he is with

Cleopatra, or the "triple pillar of the world" he should be.

After Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC, Antony joined Lepidus and

Octavius Caesar to make up the triumvirate - the three leaders of Italy.

Despite being criticised by many at the start of the play, he is also highly

praised for being a dedicated and hard working leader. In Act One Scene

One, Philo describes his heart as one "which in the scuffles of great fights

hath burst the buckles on his breast", showing that he loved fighting for

his country and was a proud and brave leader and warrior.

Philo also says

that Antony has a "great property" (Act One Scene One), meaning he has

admirable qualities. The fact that someone who can condemn him in this way

can also praise him highly shows just how respected and admired he was.

Also, despite the fact that Antony is in Egypt, Octavius still keeps him

informed of events in Rome by sending messengers, which shows that he does

not disregard Antony because he is so far away, he still wants him to be

part of the triumvirate. When with others, Antony is still bold and

decisive. He won't take any nonsense from people and makes sure he knows

exactly what...