Explore the dramatic methods used by Shakespeare to present Antony as a character whom we admire and simultaneously do not admire. In your essay you must include:
* Shakespeare's use of language
* the staging of significant episodes
* relevant contextual information, for example historical, social, cultural or literary
Through a use of dramatic methods, Shakespeare manages to portray Antony in two ways, firstly as the great Roman leader with a yearning for war, the epitome of masculinity, a man greatly admired by many in both Elizabethan and modern audiences. In contrast to this, Shakespeare also manages to portray Antony as weak, who easily succumbs to the will of Cleopatra, and is ultimately defeated by Octavius Caesar, many years his junior. Both of these portrayals combine together to create an intriguing character, whom an audience can both admire and abhor.
The use of language is integral to the presentation of Antony and how he is received by an audience. Antony is initially introduced to the audience through the conversation of Demetrius and Philo, where he is first likened to "Mars", the Roman god of war. This imagery appears several times throughout the play, often coupled with comparisons of Cleopatra to Venus, the Roman god of love. According to the myth, Venus and Mars had engaged in an affair, an affair alluded to by Mardian, when he mentions "what Venus did with Mars", which closely parallels the relationship of Antony and Cleopatra. Enobarbus claims he will entreat Antony to "speak as loud as Mars", this comparison again showing Antony in an admirable way, as through likening him to a god, Shakespeare creates an illusion that Antony himself is a god. In addition to this, Cleopatra mentions that "all the gods" go with Antony when he leaves, which shows to the audience that Antony is a man to be admired and trusted. Philo's description of Antony is particularly complimentary, as he refers to Antony's "captain's heart", meaning he is...