Ali (xicarus_complex) wrote in english_majors,
Ali
xicarus_complex
english_majors

Antony and Cleopatra Essay Help?

Hi all,
I've spent the last two weeks on an essay about Enobarbus (from Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra), but I can't seem to reconcile my ideas into a coherent whole and I'm superfrustrated, so I'd really appreciate any advice/thoughts from the community! My thesis has gone through several iterations and I'm not satisfied with any, but I've narrowed it down to two so far. Essentially, I think the parallels between Antony and Enobarbus speak to the relationship between love and death/destruction, but I'm not sure what these parallels say, or what the relationship between love and death is.


Essay Outline
Tentative Thesis Statement #1: The parallels between Antony and Enobarbus reveal the perils of a system in which love is synonymous with death

Tentative Thesis Statement #2: The parallels between Antony and Enobarbus demonstrates that love demands a sacrifice equal to or greater than death.

Point #1: Love and Death
The only characters left standing at the end of the play a) are ruled more by logic/reason than emotion and b) don't have a direct or indirect (i.e. through Antony) emotional connection to Cleopatra. Initially, I intended to argue that the former is proof that love and death are inseparable, but then I question if they would be without Cleopatra to drag Antony down, and his servants after him.

Point #2: Irrational Relationships (aka Crazy Stupid Love)
Even though Enobarbus recognizes that Antony is a bad leader, he follows him based largely on emotion and in doing so, he loses his honour as well as his life, much like Antony with Cleopatra.

Point #3: Dying for Nothing
Enobarbus mocks women because (paraphrased) they die for nothing ("die," meaning both "to orgasm" and "to expire" here), but he and Antony are no different. Enobarbus &die of a broken heart in a world where emotion is secondary to reason and moreover, the onlookers think he's simply swooned. While Antony's death isn't as ambiguous, the reason behind it proves false since Cleopatra is actually alive. However, I think death provides them with the same freedom/triumph/pleasure as orgasm and I want to tie that into my thesis (love = death = triumph, basically), but I'm not sure how.

If anyone has any insight at all, I'd really appreciate it because at the moment, I feel like I'm fumbling in the dark. Thanks for your time and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Edited to fix borked HTML.
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  • 3 comments

coldlikedeath

February 25 2012, 20:51:07 UTC 5 years ago Edited:  February 25 2012, 20:51:53 UTC

"We are not a homework help community", as someone once said to me...

Snark aside, the advice I'd have would be put all that together, right? You've a damn good outline there. Do some more reading and fill in the gaps with anything important there. And quote. Quote hard. Not everything, but where it's relevant. I know this might not help but it's what I would try and do. Wiki, Sparknotes, Google in general, anyone else who's already done this topic.

Offtopic, are you getting LJ notifications in your inbox? Is anyone? Trawling through my friends page is painful.

As I understand it, the community doesn't have any explicit rules against essay-related posts. I only come here if I've thought about my question at some length because it's far more likely to provoke discussion. Though I probably should've said so more clearly, I'm more interested in the discussion than a quick answer. In that respect, i believed my post to be in the spirit of english_majors, but if it's frowned on, then I apologize. Based on previous experience (and previous posts), I didn't imagine that to be the case, but of course, I'm open to correction. Possibly I took snark much too seriously?

I appreciate your input: I haven't found either Wikipedia or SparkNotes particularly useful for this assignment D:, but I have accessed several articles through JSTOR over the past two weeks. I found the wealth of scholarship on Antony and Cleopatra overwhelming--and the scholarship on Enobarbus just the opposite, but I stumbled across an article yesterday that centred me a little. My thesis now reads: The parallels between Antony and Enobarbus reveal the immense political, martial, and social sacrifice that love demands, but for both men, their "noble ruin" is well-worth pain, and even death. The thesis is admittedly messy, but I think it's more coherent, particularly if I don't have an opportunity for dialogue. I know many comm members are in the midst of their break or their studies, so :/.

All that said, thanks again for your encouragement. It's nice to know that my outline is coherent to an outsider; I've spent so much time with the essay that I go cross-eyed at the thought of it and I did benefit from the reassurance :).

I received a comment notification at 3:51p.m. EST (says Gmail) and according to the timestamp, you posted around the same time, but I may just have been lucky because several people in the communities I follow have complained of spotty comment / update notifications and with LJ, I expect it.
Glad you possibly know what you're doing! If it makes sense to me, it'll make sense to you. Go have a cup of coffee and breathe, alright? That would be good for me but I need to sleep and I have an exam in the morning...