Antony and Cleopatra Essay

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Dualism in its various forms- contrast, paradox, irony plays a significant role in Antony and Cleopatra. Peter Berek describes the play as one "in which mighty opposites meet, struggle, and embrace. Rome encounters Egypt, Reason feels emotion, Spirit wars with Flesh, Duty yields to Leisure." Richard C. Harrier contrasts Cleopatra- whom he sees as representative of Egypt, undisciplined fertility, and inconstancy- with Octavius Caesar- with whom he links Rome, order, and power. Cynthia Kolb Whitney focuses on the contrasts which exist between Rome and Egypt, asserting that the two have completely different value systems and that "behavior which is almost divine to one is repugnant and silly to the other." Janet Adelman observes that many of the paradoxes in the play are the result of the frequent use of hyperbole, or lavishly extravagant language. Adelman argues that while many of the characters use hyperbole for dramatic effect (as...

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This section contains 6,708 words
(approx. 17 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Antony and Cleopatra Study Guide
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Antony and Cleopatra from Shakespeare for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.