Ali (xicarus_complex) wrote in 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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