Essay: Cleopatra- A tragic Portrayal of Historic Events

By | April 28, 2011

Sample Essay

Cleopatra followed a similar line of reasoning for it to be labeled a tragic portrayal of historic events. The play was not completely surrounded by tragedy and even though there were two battle scenes within the play, as there were in Henry V, it was not simply dubbed a history play but rather a tragedy for the amount of love Antony outwardly portrayed for the queen of Egypt Cleopatra.

Antony’s extent of care for the queen can be determined by the fact that he, being one of the triumvirs of Rome, was staying in Egypt despite all of Rome’s domestic problems which he should have catered for. Cleopatra was more of an aggressive lover, and her emotions would routinely take control of her judgment despite being assured by Antony of his undying love for her. An instance of this was the time when Antony was made to marry Octavius’s (also one of the triumvirs of Rome) sister, her hostility towards the messenger showed how furious the notion of Antony with another woman made her. This love only met with the necessary blows expected of a tragic tale near the end but otherwise, the rest of the play is more akin to a historic depiction of events.

It then falls to consideration how important the death of the main characters is in order to emit that necessary sad vibe. In this play, Shakespeare very keenly provided us with plenty of supportive cast but not enough in the way of obstacles to Antony’s love. Antony and Octavius only grow to be enemies once he leaves Rome and goes back to Egypt for his Cleopatra, declaring himself as the ruler of Egypt with Cleopatra as his queen. He also lays claim for the eastern third of the Roman Empire. More importantly, he accuses Octavius of not sharing with him the lands obtained via a war against their enemy Pompey, the notorious pirate, and imprisoning Lepidus, the third triumvir of Rome. As matters get hostile, Antony decides to war against Octavius from Egypt.

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