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Essay on the Theme of Nature in Antony and Cleopatra

Antony and Cleopatra: The Theme of Nature

Nature, described as mysterious and secretive, is a recurrent theme throughout Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. Cleopatra, the ill-fated queen of Egypt, is both mysterious and secretive, and her emotional power is above and beyond nature’s great strength. Whether described in a positive or in a negative manner, both nature and Cleopatra are described as being “great natural forces.” Throughout the first act, the two are compared and contrasted by various characters in the play.

The first act, set in Alexandria, Egypt, sets the stage for the play and presents the majority of the actors. Scene two introduces one of the major themes of the play, Nature. This raunchy, innuendo- filled scene has two of Cleopatra’s close friends and one of Antony’s discussing her and Antony’s life. Charmian, one of Cleopatra’s best friends, Alexas, one of Cleopatra’s servants (as well as the link between her and Antony), Enobarbus, one of Antony’s trusted Lieutenants, as well as a Soothsayers are all present and discussing their fortunes. During this discussion, the Soothsayer states, “ In Nature’s infinite book of secrecy/ A little I can read” (I.ii.10-11). The Soothsayer explains to the others that there is little she can do outside of not only her powers, but also what nature allows her to. One of the first references to nature and the mystery that revolves around it, this quote simply demonstrates how little power the people have over something as great as nature.

Nature and the elements surrounding it are simply a mystery to the people of Rome. In his discussion with his commanding Lieutenant, Enobarbus refers to Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt and Antony’s soon-to- be lover, as a great natural force that is above nature’s powers. In the second scene of the first act, Antony states, “She is cunning past man’s thought” (I.ii.145). This statement is then followed by Enobarbus’ statement about Cleopatra: “…her passions are made of noth/ing but the finest part of pure love. We cannot call her /winds and waters sighs and tears; they are greater /storms and tempests than almanacs can re- port. This/ cannot be cunning in her; if it be, she makes a show’r of /rain as well as Jove” (I.ii.146-151). In this quote, Enobarbus shows great respect and admiration towards Cleopatra. Not only does he defend her from Antony’s statement, but also he regards her with such high esteem that he compares her to Jove, the ruler of the gods in charge of rain, thunder, and lightning.

Affirmative Action and Racial Tension

Affirmative Action and Racial Tension

Affirmative action. What was its purpose in the first place, and do we really need it now? It began in an era when minorities were greatly under represented in universities and respectable professions. Unless one was racist, most agreed with the need of affirmative action in college admissions and in the workplace. Society needed an active law that enforced equality during a period when civil rights bills were only effective in ink. With so much of America¹s work force spawned from integrated schools now, some may question whether racism really is the problem anymore, and many college students might answer yes. They see it on college campuses today, and they are not sure why.

Subconscious prejudices, self-segregation, political correctness, reverse discrimination, and ignorance all wade in the pool of opinions surrounding affirmative action and racial animosity. With racial tensions ever present in this country, one might question whether the problems can be solved by affirmative action.

Some feel that affirmative action in universities is the answer to the end of racism and inequality. If more black students get into and graduate from good colleges, more of them will go on to even out the lopsided numbers in the work force. Prejudice secretly slips through everyone¹s thoughts. Or so Barbara Ehrenreich believes when she writes of a quiet, subliminal prejudice that is caused by statistics that prove the fewer numbers of blacks in high profile jobs. When we see ninety percent of leadership roles in the corporate world held by white men, we begin to doubt other¹s competence in that field. With so many minorities in menial roles, people begin to believe the white man is best for …

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