“Blow wilderness.(3.2) “Where’s my serpent of old Nile,”



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“Blow winds, blow/ Blow winds and crack your cheeks,” cries King Lear in the infamous storm scene that defines the central image of the play, namely the King’s madness and utter debasement in the nakedness of the early pre-Christian British wilderness.(3.2) “Where’s my serpent of old Nile,” intones Cleopatra as she reclines, envisioning her absent Anthony speaking to her in pre-Christian Egypt.(1.5) Lear summons a cruel storm that matches his desperate mood.

Cleopatra summons in her mind the vision of Anthony to pass the time while she waits for his return, reclining in When considering these two images visually, one may be atfirst surprised that they spring from the mind of the same playwright.The cold and harsh world of Lear seems to be strikingly different from the Egypt of Cleopatra.The play “King Lear” depicts a rich monarchy at its onset, which is slowly and cruelly stripped bare after Lear’s poor leadership in his dotage leaves his kingdom over to his daughters Regan and Goneril and their husbands.In contrast, “Anthony and Cleopatra” is structured in a series of contrasts.For every scene of a regal and cool republican Rome, a more sensuous, less ordered Egypt appears, demonstrating the two worlds that tear apart the soul of Anthony.As Lear is eventually stripped bear of his kingship, his clothing, his shelter, and finally his sanity and the only child that actually loves him, so Anthony is undone over the course of his own play.

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But Lear is undone in a linear fashion, every scene he is present in, he loses something new.Anthony’s downfall seems to be programmed from the start, given his two contrasting lives.The only similarity between the two worlds of “King Lear” and “Anthony and Cleopatra” seems to be in Lear and Cleopatra’s imaginative capacity to, respectively, create a storm in the mind that becomes reality, and to…

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