Antony and Cleopatra

Actium and a New Perspective on Antony: The Dramatic Significance of Act 3 Scene 11 11th Grade

The Battle of Actium is one of the more pivotal moments in Antony and Cleopatra. Mark Antony, having lost the battle, undergoes a period of self-reflection and emotional trauma which changes our perception of the character. The analysis of the extract given attempts to discuss the dramatic significance present in the extract and how Shakespeare conveys them to the audience. After the Battle of Actium, Antony undergoes heavy emotional distress and is unlike the Antony in scenes prior, which adds an additional layer to his character for the audience to ponder.

Most notable in this respect is Antony's admission that “I have fled myself”, which can be literally read as Antony fleeing the battle to follow after Cleopatra, or figuratively as Antony having fled his self as a Roman general, having disregard virtue by fleeing from battle as well as pietas for leaving his navy to the hands of Caesar. Antony’s inner turmoil is also expressed through the use of antithetical imagery in regards to the colour of his hair (“For the white reprove the brown of rashness, and they for fear and doting.”). However, in the midst of his internal turmoil reveals a softer side of Antony. The repetition of the word “friends” he directs towards his...

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