Antony And Cleopatra Double Standards Essay

Better Essays
The emasculation of great men led to their downfall; the perpetrators were the women in their lives. As such, Cleopatra and Lady Macbeth are to blame for Antony and Macbeth’s ruin, respectively. Such is the argument of many critics whose basis of accusation is far from grounded. Both women are powerful Shakespearean characters marked with a stain, not of guilt or crime in its entirety, but rather one of womanhood. Through the creation of double standards with their male counterparts, both female characters are subject to sexism and objectification. Cleopatra, albeit weakened by recent film productions, remains a very prominent female figure in Shakespeare’s plays. Although she is decried as sexual and promiscuous, she is aware of her perception…show more content…
As Fitz advances, sexist critics tend to assume that, “men may put political considerations ahead of love; women may not” (304). Inconsistent with conventional thought, Antony and Cleopatra interchange gender roles. For once, a man of his statute shamefully puts love before politics; on the contrary, she put her state before her love. When Cleopatra’s ships flee, the play, through the character of Scarus makes it a point to establish Cleopatra’s blame in the loss of the battle. He begins by referencing being inclined and led by the affections of a woman as ignorance, “The greater cantle of the world is lost. With very ignorance” (3.10.8-9). Later, he finalizes Cleopatra’s conviction by stating, “She once being loofed, the noble ruin of her magic, Antony, Claps on his sea-wing and, like a doting mallard” (3.10.18-20). Notice the language of this last line. Cleopatra is likened to ruin and magic; Antony is referenced as a noble, doting mallard, commonly known as a lovesick duck. The sickness and enchantment he is under makes him incapable of bearing the blame. Instead, we are left to cope with Cleopatra’s status as the exotic enchantress whose influence brought ruin to Rome and Antony,
Get Access