Pain, Power and Folly

The title characters of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra are difficult to fully understand due to their seemingly illogical actions towards one another. At times, they seem to be in direct opposition to each other’s causes, yet still fully and passionately in love with one another. Their story is one unique to Shakespeare’s canon of works; … Read morePain, Power and Folly

Witchy Women: Female Magic and Otherness in Western Literature

Tales of women as sorceresses and magic-wielders abound in the literature and mythology of cultures that promote the gendered binary of culture over nature, activity over passivity, and reason over superstition. In these patriarchal societies, women are marginalized from society and have no agency of their own; to get what they want, they must resort … Read moreWitchy Women: Female Magic and Otherness in Western Literature

Stoic Constancy in Antony and Cleopatra

Antony and Cleopatra is a play of conflicting values and paradoxical ideologies. Its central dynamic is the Roman/ Egyptian dichotomy, with each pole representing a web of associated values and attributes. Egypt is variously associated with “the passions,” fertility, flux and change, whilst Rome represents reason, heroism, endurance and the political sphere.Shakespeare’s singular presentation of … Read moreStoic Constancy in Antony and Cleopatra

Infinite Virtue: A Close Reading of Antony and Cleopatra, IV.viii.12-18

IV.viii of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra is a short scene, less than 40 lines, and an entirely unexpected one. The preceding scenes of Act IV, such as Hercules’ departure and Enobarbus’ desertion, heavily foreshadow Antony’s defeat. When Antony wins his battle against Caesar and returns to Cleopatra in IV.viii, the joy of their reunion contrasts … Read moreInfinite Virtue: A Close Reading of Antony and Cleopatra, IV.viii.12-18

Tension in Antony and Cleopatra

In his play Antony and Cleopatra, William Shakespeare develops a constant theme of clashing duty and desire that can be seen throughout the entirety of the work; this theme is most potently exemplified through the actions of the main characters, and the overall characterization of said characters. Shakespeare wastes no time establishing this theme, as … Read moreTension in Antony and Cleopatra

West and East: Values in “Antony and Cleopatra”

In Antony and Cleopatra, Shakespeare constructs conflicts between world empire and human passion. The sensual and wasteful opulence of the East, where ‘the the beds are softer’ is juxtaposed to the cold, bare efficiency of the West. Egypt stands for passion, sensuality, and decadence, Rome for duty, politics, and austerity: the world of pleasure against … Read moreWest and East: Values in “Antony and Cleopatra”

Cleopatra: Merely a “Morsel for a Monarch?”

Cleopatra, “Egypt’s Queen,” is arguably Shakespeare’s most resilient and enchanting female protagonist. She is personified as the embodiment of her country, ‘the soul of Egypt’, and defies the reductive Jacobean “most monster-like” perspective of women. The Renaissance stereotype of the subordinate and inferior female is in total juxtaposition to the possessive and shrewd characteristics that … Read moreCleopatra: Merely a “Morsel for a Monarch?”

Use of Stagecraft in Antony and Cleopatra

Shakespeare uses stagecraft in a number of different ways to create dramatic effects in ‘Antony and Cleopatra’. Jacobean stages were very simple, not much more than an empty wooden platform thrust into the middle of spectators with no scenery to raise or lower. The sheer emptiness of Shakespeare’s stage and the absence of scenery focused … Read moreUse of Stagecraft in Antony and Cleopatra

Imagery in Antony and Cleopatra

In Antony and Cleopatra, Shakespeare uses grand evocative imagery for a variety of reasons such as juxtaposing Rome against Egypt, and to add different dimensions to the main characters. Moreover, there are a few overriding themes throughout the play such as the exhibition of imperial affluence, notions of honour, and that of love. There is … Read moreImagery in Antony and Cleopatra