A magnificent drama of love and war, this riveting tragedy presents one of Shakespeare's greatest female characters—the seductive, cunning Egyptian queen Cleopatra. The Roman leader Mark Antony, a virtual prisoner of his passion for her, is a man torn between pleasure and virtue, between sensual indolence and duty . . . between an empire and love. Bold, rich, and splendid in its setting and emotions, Antony And Cleopatra ranks among Shakespeare's supreme achievements.
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|Title of eBook: Antony and Cleopatra|
|Release Date: 08-04-2009|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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|Parent title||Antony and Cleopatra|
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Antony and Cleopatra
Shakespeare probably wrote Antony and Cleopatra in 1606 or 1607; it was registered for publication on May 20, 1608, and apparently influenced a revision of Samuel Daniel’s Cleopatra that was published “newly altered” in 1607. Antony and Cleopatra was thus roughly contemporary with King Lear and Macbeth. Yet the contrast between those two tragedies and Antony and Cleopatra is immense. Unlike Macbeth, with its taut focus on a murderer and his wife, Antony and Cleopatra moves back and forth across the Mediterranean in its epic survey of characters and events, bringing together the fates of Pompey, Octavius Caesar, Octavia, and Lepidus with those of the protagonists. King Lear gives proper names to fourteen characters, Macbeth to eighteen, Antony and Cleopatra to thirty-four. The Roman play requires no fewer than forty-two separate scenes, of which most occur in what modern editors label Acts 3 and 4, although no play is less suited to the classical rigors of five-act structure, and these divisions are not found in the reliable Folio text of 1623. Indeed, it is as though Shakespeare resolved at the height of his career to show that he could dispense entirely with the classical “rules,” which had never taken serious hold of the English popular stage in any case. The flouting of the unities is so extreme that John Dryden, in his All for Love, or The World Well Lost (1678), undertook not so much to revise Shakespeare as to start afresh on the same subject. Dryden’s play is restricted to the last few hours of the protagonists’ lives, at Cleopatra’s tomb in Alexandria, with a severely limited cast of characters and much of the narrative revealed through rec...