Study Help Essay Questions


1.     What qualities do you think are most dominant in the characters of (1) Antony; (2) Cleopatra; and

(3) Octavius Caesar? Which character do you admire the most? Why? Which character do you dislike the most? Why?

2. Do you think that any of the characters in this play could be described as a hero or a villain? Why or why not?

3. What value systems do the two countries of Rome and Egypt appear to represent?

4. What role do you think Enobarbus plays in the relationship between Antony and Cleopatra, and between Antony and the other triumvirs?

5. Does Shakespeare, in your opinion, value more the goals of Octavius Caesar or those of Antony? Why?

6. Discuss the dominant images in this play. For example, discuss the imagery of the world, of vastness, of the heavens, and explain how Shakespeare uses them to create characters who are larger than life.

7. Which emotion dominates in Antony and Cleopatra's relationship? Is it love or lust? Explain your choice.

8. Discuss Shakespeare's use of the images of heat and sunlight and how they are used in relation to the themes of love and war.

9. Discuss Shakespeare's attitudes towards sex and love as they are illustrated in this play. How are they similar to current ideas? How do they differ? Also compare the comic scenes with Cleopatra's servants with some of the more serious scenes between Antony and Cleopatra.

10. Consider in depth any one of the three main characters. Examine how that character is viewed by the others in the play and by Shakespeare's audience.