Antony and Cleopatra

The Theme of Appetite in Antony and Cleopatra 12th Grade

Appetite is explored in many different ways in Antony and Cleopatra, with Cleopatra having an appetite for luxury, destruction , creating tragic inevitability, and sex. There is shifting power dynamics as the characters attempt to seize power for themselves, and this is due to all the characters in the play having a large appetite for power, which increases the gluttony within the play. This theme also taps into the idea of excess, and the contrast between the indulgence of Egypt and the serious nature of Rome.

Egypt appears as a setting of indulgence and pleasure to the audience, and this comes from the vast appetite for pleasure throughout the area. From the first scene of the play there are lines that relate to putting a figure to “love”. Cleopatra begs Antony to tell her “how much” love he has for her, and he replies using the word “reckoned”, deriving from the German word for bill, putting a set amount on love. Cleopatra immediately has an appetite for as much love, and sexual pleasure, as she can possible receive. Cleopatra wants to take Antony’s “inches”, a sexual innuendo, which is common in their relationship, which starts off with two characters who seem driven by lust, and only later in the play does it become clear...

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