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Antony and Cleopatra: New Critical Essays (Shakespeare by Sara Munson Deats

By Sara Munson Deats

Complementing different volumes within the Shakespeare feedback sequence, this choice of twenty unique essays will extend the severe contexts within which Antony and Cleopatra should be loved as either literature and theater. The essays will disguise a large spectrum of subject matters and make the most of a variety of scholarly methodologies, together with textual and performance-oriented ways, intertextual experiences, in addition to feminist, psychoanalytical, Marxist, and postcolonial inquiries. the quantity also will function an intensive advent by way of the editor surveying the under-examined functionality heritage and important trends/legacy of this complicated play. individuals contain famous Shakespeare students David Bevington, Dympna Callaghan, Leeds Barroll, David Fuller, Dorothea Kehler, and Linda Woodbridge.

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Extra info for Antony and Cleopatra: New Critical Essays (Shakespeare Criticism)

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Like Antony, Christian was extravagant, physically strong, a womanizer, and a prodigious eater and drinker. Explaining the play as a response to the fiascos occurring during a royal visit of King Christian in 1606, Davies interprets the tragedy as a kind of morality play containing a personal warning to James to be politically astute and survive (like Octavius), rather than follow the path of self-indulgence and perish (like Antony). Following Davies, Wortham (1995) sees Octavius as an implicit analogue to James and the play as a veiled tribute to the monarch who, like Octavius Caesar, will usher in a time of universal peace.

According to Larry Champion (1976), through suffering Antony learns to transcend his own egomania, accept responsibility for his actions, develop concern for others—a concern shown in his magnanimity toward Enobarbus and his total forgiveness of Cleopatra at his death—and, before his death, like Lear, learns to know himself and recognize the true meaning of human relationships. Similarly, Richard C. Trench (1872) judges Antony a monumentally tragic figure, concluding that “the whole range of poetry offers no more tragical figure than he is [and] few that arouse deeper pity” (55–56).

The second, Barnabe Barne’s The Devil’s Charter, acted by the King’s Men at Candlemas (February 2, 1607) and printed in October of the same year, features a scene in which Pope Alexander Borgia dubs the asps that he uses to poison two sleeping boys “Cleopatraes [sic] birds” (Barroll, “Chronology of Shakespeare’s Jacobean Plays,” 138–149). These salient echoes have convinced scholars that Antony and Cleopatra debuted early in 1607, either at the Globe, the Blackfriars, or the court. Scholars also conjecture that early modern stage managers probably ignored the challenges that have stymied so many directors from the eighteenth century to the present.

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