Cleopatra’s costly mistake

Time after time we see Antony missing his chances to redeem his opinionated country but each time he refuses and returns to Cleopatra, every time he does this his status is demeaned a little more and he is gradually losing all respect from his fellow and sub-ordinate Romans which has been obtained through his years of loyalty. Constant symbols representing Antony are apparent in the play and indeed in this scene; “Pillar” and “sword” are just two of the phallic symbols used to illustrate Antony and his manly, leadership qualities.

These are demeaned however with the way he behaves when with Cleopatra is in his presence and this repeatedly gets reported back to Rome again diminishing Antony. Because of the constant prying, meddlesome invasion on their relationship perhaps their fate was imminent from the very beginning, Antony wanting to regain his crumbled admiration and nobility takes to the sea to battle, he thinks Cleopatra had betrayed him by returning to Caesar and in scene 13 Antony proclaims her disloyalty and takes to the sea.

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Cleopatra feeling rejected and unwanted sends word to Antony that she has committed suicide claiming she could not live with out him, vying for his attentions again and displaying her childish qualities as we saw in act one scene one. The effect this announcement had on Antony was devastatingly regretful, in a final powerful speech Antony orders his faithful friend Eros to strike him dead with his own sword, previously associated with power Antony and his sword have been bought to an end.

The fact that Eros cannot kill Antony and would rather be dead himself than witness the bereavement of his comrade shows just how much respect Antony still holds after all that had happened. The fact that Antony struggled to put an end to his life again demeans his manly qualities but he eventually dies a brave hero’s death, whether it was solely because of his love for Cleopatra or if that was just the final straw after the vicious turn of events, either way he was dead and tragically, as he is on his death bed word comes from Egypt of Cleopatra’s costly mistake.

It is only when Cleopatra realises what she has done does she take any time to reflect that she may have done something wrong, as before she always seemed to look to the future and not worry about past events, she does except responsibility for her fault “That the false huswife fortune break her wheel, provoked by my offence. ”

The features we see illustrated in the opening scene; Cleopatra’s magnificence and disregard for rules and responsibilities, along side Antony and his love for fellowship battling against his love for Cleopatra are the very things that caused this catastrophic, heartbreaking ending. Philo predicted in his closing remark of act one scene one, that Antony, a changed man would fall short of his once prosperous future, as he eventually did.