Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra defies the stereotypes generated from any other Shakespearean drama, Antony is by its very definition a deeply flawed protagonist. This essay will discuss how Shakespeare adopts the use of imagery, language and dramatic construction throughout the play in portraying Antony as deeply flawed plus maintaining his stature as a tragic hero. Charles Moseley states, 'Renaissance plays are not books, but a visual and auditory experience played in a special building on a stage that carried out a great deal of symbolic charge for the audience.' Antony's tragedy is caused by situations beyond his ability to change; he is torn between his honor and his life in Alexandria. At meanwhile, he is also influenced by a number of primary inner flaws of character-his lack of political interest, impetuousness of character and a pursuit of personal pleasure. S Bethell suggests how 'Antony has a foot in both worlds.' Shakespeare does not have a hard task in making a tragic hero out of Antony as Aristotle defines a tragic hero, 'as a character of noble stature who has a tragic flaw (over confidence, arrogance, hubris,), and suffers a downfall that is partially their fault but also due to factors beyond their control. The downfall they suffer exceeds the crime, but the tragic hero gains some sort of self-awareness.' From this statement Antony is in every sense a tragic hero as this essay will demonstrate. .
Shakespeare's use of language allows him to present Antony as a character to be pitied, which is paramount in portraying a tragic hero. Antony is represented as, 'a strumpets fool.' Helpless when faced with Cleopatra's charms and womanly assets, likewise establishing a distinct link with the reader in accepting one of his weaknesses is Cleopatra. The striking imagery Shakespeare uses to describe Cleopatra and Antony's relationship – we are reminded of the image of the fish caught on her hook, and are in no way surprised to learn that at their first meeting, 'she pursed up his heart'.