The scope felt focused but introduced and wrapped up broader topics that made it feel complete. I left several parts feeling sadness for Antony, especially his Parthia campaign. It felt very much like a biography split between both characters. It maintained my interest from beginning to end. The name of characters in the book also helped to set a link of who's who in parts of the New Testament. Like all of his books, I enjoyed it immensely. Sep 16, David Lopez rated it it was amazing Shelves: nonfiction-favorites.
A great look past the myth. This book takes you into the true story of Mark Antony and Cleopatra and shows how it differs and occasionally resembles the common perception. Highly recommend. This book lays bare the accepted facts and debunks the myths that have sprung up around this pair and, to be honest, the truth is so incredible that no embellishment is needed.
George RR Martin needed dragons in order to tell a story this epic in scale. May 29, Anne rated it it was ok. DNF - not a good book to start with if you don't already have a good base knowledge of the area and groups peopling it, along with the Roman way of life. Overwhelmed by the sheer amount of detail just in the bit I read and hopelessly confused as a result. Jan 25, Bobby24 rated it really liked it. Excellent, a great story Goldsworthy never disappoints I only gave it 4 stars as having read his The complete roman army, Caesar, the punic war [ plus others] there is invariably some cross over but there was much new in this book for me.
Mar 04, Elliot Huxtable rated it really liked it Shelves: biographies. Fantastically written and comprehensively researched biographies. A good, judicious and unromantic profile of Antony and Cleopatra. The subject is just not big enough for a whole book and as a result there are too many tedious passages and explanation why we cannot be sure about xyz.
Recommended to Elia Princess of Starfall by: Goodreads. Antony and Cleopatra are one of history's most famous power couples; equally loved, reviled and re-imagined by each generation. Despite living and dying more than two thousand years ago, the couple still enthral and fascinate us to this day.
What's not to love about the political and romantic alliance between a top Roman general and Triumvir and the last Queen of Egypt? In this informative and measured dual biography of the original power couple, Goldsworthy seeks to purposefully separate the my Antony and Cleopatra are one of history's most famous power couples; equally loved, reviled and re-imagined by each generation. In this informative and measured dual biography of the original power couple, Goldsworthy seeks to purposefully separate the myth from the history, to appraise every decision of Antony and Cleopatra in its proper historical context and to emphasise on the political reality that saw Cleopatra stay in power through Roman backing.
Well-written, carefully researched and full of thoughtful analysis, Antony and Cleopatra is a rewarding read. The backgrounds of the individual families of Antony and Cleopatra is engaging and highly interesting. The brother-sister marriages, frequent murders, vicious plots and counter plots of the Ptolemies severed as inspiration for the Targaryens in ASOIAF no less! Goldsworthy, throughout the books, remains objective and never strays from the bounds of reason.
He delights in eviscerating the heady romanticism that swirls around Antony and Cleopatra; firmly grounding them in political and social reality. He never lets the romance overtakes the politics and the books credibility is strengthened greatly. The characters of Antony and Cleopatra, their families, their politics, their ambitions, their motivations and their ultimate dependence on Rome, are all explained and emphasised on in detail.
Cleopatra is particularly interesting and Goldsworthy discusses many alternating theories about her, the identity of her mother, her Macedonian heritage culture and identity, her fraught dependence on Roman approval, her determination to keep Egypt as a Ptolemaic kingdom and her legendary status in both life and death. Goldsworthy shows that Cleopatra was always subservient to Rome and that she considered herself to be Greek. Likewise, Goldsworthy uncovers the Mark Antony's early life, his family background, his wild debt ridden youth, his three marriages, his political career, his affair with Cleopatra, his military triumphs and defeats and his final destruction in Augustan propaganda.
Goldsworthy quite rightly reveals that Antony was probably not the romantic hero that Hollywood would like for us to believe. He was a Roman citizen first and foremost; a man dedicated to himself and to pursuing wealth, glory and riches. It might be surprising to some to realize that in terms of military conquest Antony was no where near as spectacular as Caesars.
However I did have some issues with the book. Despite being a dual bio I felt that the book too often strayed from focusing on Antony and Cleopatra and instead dithered in the minefield that was Roman politics. While I can appreciate the importance of such a topic, at times it became very dry and meandering to read about and ponder. Also, while his systematic dismantling of the popular perceptions of the couple were intriguing to read about, I think he went too far on occasion reducing Cleopatra and Antony to two people utterly obsessed with themselves and their hold on power.
All in all, an engaging and relevant bio on a famous power couple. Dec 27, Kimberlee rated it it was amazing Shelves: kimberlee-s-home-library. A really fascinating look at the historical figures behind the many, many myths and legends. Even having studied both Ancient Rome, and peripheral figures from the first century B. I was particularly surprised with how little I knew about Mark Antony's life beyond some of the broad strokes.
This book not only gives the reader a good picture of who these two people were as well as many of the other key players in the political game that wa A really fascinating look at the historical figures behind the many, many myths and legends. This book not only gives the reader a good picture of who these two people were as well as many of the other key players in the political game that was intrinsic to both of their lives in that time , but it does so evenly, devoting equal time to each person without short-changing the other. The author is also extremely unbiased, presenting all the information and the points of view on a situation without passing judgement - the way many authors and historians have over the centuries - though he might, once the facts as they are known are laid out, offer an opinion.
I personally appreciate this style of research and presentation the best, as it reminds me that with history, there can never really be any conclusions, since we weren't there. Thus, we'll never know what really happened, and can't adequately judge, only assess the information and speculate on the possibilities. I enjoyed reading this - bringing two very powerful characters who have dominated the world's imagination down to a more human level so that I can recognize their flaws as well as their more positive attributes; understand them a little better; and best of all - realize that they would probably be of very little interest if not for the dramatic way in which they died.
There's something very poignant in the realization that one of the most powerful men in the world and one of the most powerful women in the world, could have just been footnotes in history. Overall I was not a fan of the author's writing style. Not only does he awkwardly transition from topic to topic or even paragraph to paragraph, but he also makes it difficult to distinguish which "he" is referencing numerous times.
His style was not always clear, often irritating to read and frequently repetitive.
His preferred topic was also clearly military strategy, but that was not meant to be the focus of this book. I will say this, Goldsworthy included more information on Antony than other Overall I was not a fan of the author's writing style. I will say this, Goldsworthy included more information on Antony than other books including him I have read to date. But his treatment of Cleopatra was frustrating, especially as she is right there in the title but does not come into play very often in the book.
When she is mentioned, it is often in a repetitive nature, such as insisting she needed Rome to maintain power but never really going beyond this. He also at one point says that Cleopatra was "uncritical" and lively with regards to Antony. I'm sorry but this just sounds like some cliche male fantasy of what a woman is and not how one actually is.
Cleopatra, ruler of a nation, was apparently just a party to be around. He also does what I hate in NF, which is making assumptions on the people's part.
He says things like the relationship was passionate but mostly political, Antony did not intend to never see Octavia again, he did not mean to stay with Cleopatra and so on and so forth. He also addresses Cleopatra and Antony's relationship as being shallow but much of the data put forth says otherwise. Listen, we cannot determine the real realities of other people's relationships even today with Twitter and FB and all that, yet authors continue to believe they can speak for beings from 2, years ago. Just stop. There is probably no finer scholar of the Classical Roman world than Goldsworthy so you are in for a well written and fully researched history of the times and biography of the two principal characters.
If the material feels a bit slight at times that is due to the dearth of material and certainly reliable contemporary material about the duo. Goldsworthy does a nice job of trying to sort out the Antony and Cleopatra of myth, literature and propaganda from the actual lives of the historical figures while trying to keep the hypothesizing to a a minimum and clearly identifying it when he is making assumptions about motivations and the like. He paints a convincing picture of Antony as a well placed and fortunate but lacking in the essential drive of either Caesar or Octavian. His Cleopatra is more complex and weighty as she most likely was in life.
All things considered it's a solid effort by Goldsworthy even if it doesn't have the dynamism of his life of Caesar Antony's lack of that same dynamism seems to have been one of his major shortcomings. Aug 22, Samantha Vuignier rated it really liked it. If you are looking for a readable account that is still scholarly and precise, this is your best bet.
It is not as fun of a read as the author's biography on Caesar, due to the limits of the source material. Antony and Cleopatra were the losers against Augustus and therefore their story was not passed down with the embellishment and thoroughness that would flesh the account out with the kind of entertaining anecdotes that make "Caesar, Life of the Colossus" so entertaining. In the absence of det If you are looking for a readable account that is still scholarly and precise, this is your best bet. In the absence of detailed, ancient sources Goldsworthy does not spin fanciful yarns; he sticks to the facts and provides speculation that is clearly flagged as such.
I like his writing precisely because it lets me see the limits of the evidence and allows me to know where debate and difference of opinion is possible. But if you are looking for more of a transporting fantasy that weaves a rich narrative of motivations and speculation to construct a satisfying tale of Antony and Cleopatra's love affair then this is not the book for you.
But if you want a clear-eyed account of these larger than life figures and the times in which they lived minus the anachronistic fantasy, you could not do better than this book.
Antony and Cleopatra by Adrian Goldsworthy
Antony and Cleopatra is another excellent work by Adrian Goldsworthy. His grasp of the ancient world is stunning and his ability to relate its history to the modern reader is unmatched. He brings Antony and Cleopatra to life as real people and dispels the incorrect assumptions and beliefs that surround them. While they may have loved one another, their relationship was much more complicated and interesting. Their political and in Antony's case, psychological needs were always paramount.
Antony Antony and Cleopatra is another excellent work by Adrian Goldsworthy. Antony is revealed as a needy boy in a man's body, who had little ability as a strategist and military commander, but who had an enormous appetite for worldly pleasures. Cleopatra is shown to have been very astute politically, and whose primary goal was to remain in power and keep Egypt as independent as possible. This book is a must read for all who are interested in ancient Rome, the transition from Roman Republic to Empire, Antony, Cleopatra, or Octavian.
Cleopatra: Facts & Biography
Speaking of Octavian, I can't help but wonder what would have happened if Cleopatra had tried to seduce him instead of Antony. Considering Octavian's strict Roman elitism, I doubt it would have gone well for Cleopatra. Goldsworthy does an excellent job explaining the era surrounding Antony and Cleopatra. The book is clinical and I found it difficult to read at times.
Give me a kiss. Even this repays me"  3. Antony's speech conveys pain and anger, but he acts in opposition to his emotions and words, all for the love of Cleopatra. Literary critic Joyce Carol Oates explains: "Antony's agony is curiously muted for someone who has achieved and lost so much. Moreover, due to the flow of constant changing emotions throughout the play: "the characters do not know each other, nor can we know them, any more clearly than we know ourselves". Another example of ambivalence in Antony and Cleopatra is in the opening act of the play when Cleopatra asks Anthony: "Tell me how much you love.
Betrayal is a recurring theme throughout the play. At one time or another, almost every character betrays their country, ethics, or a companion. However, certain characters waver between betrayal and loyalty. This struggle is most apparent among the actions of Cleopatra, Enobarbus, and most importantly Antony. Antony mends ties with his Roman roots and alliance with Caesar by entering into a marriage with Octavia, however he returns to Cleopatra.
Historian Diana E. Kleiner points out "Anthony's perceived betrayal of Rome was greeted with public calls for war with Egypt". It is twice Cleopatra abandons Antony during battle and whether out of fear or political motives, she deceived Antony. When Thidias, Caesar's messenger, tells Cleopatra Caesar will show her mercy if she will relinquish Antony, she is quick to respond:. Tell him I am prompt To lay my crown at 's feet, and there to kneel. Shakespeare critic Sara Deats says Cleopatras betrayal fell "on the successful fencing with Octavius that leaves her to be "noble to [herself]".
Enobarbus, Antony's most devoted friend, betrays Antony when he deserts him in favour for Caesar. He exclaims, "I fight against thee! Although he abandoned Antony, critic Kent Cartwright claims Enobarbus' death "uncovers his greater love" for him considering it was caused by the guilt of what he had done to his friend thus adding to the confusion of the characters' loyalty and betrayal that previous critics have also discovered.
The characters' loyalty and validity of promises are constantly called into question. The perpetual swaying between alliances strengthens the ambiguity and uncertainty amid the characters loyalty and disloyalty. As a play concerning the relationship between two empires, the presence of a power dynamic is apparent and becomes a recurring theme.
Antony and Cleopatra battle over this dynamic as heads of state, yet the theme of power also resonates in their romantic relationship. The Roman ideal of power lies in a political nature taking a base in economical control. Those his goodly eyes, That o'er the files and musters of the war Have glowed like plated mars, now bend, now turn The office and devotion of their view Upon a tawny front.
His captain's heart, Which in the scuffles of greatness hath burst The buckles on his breast, reneges all tempers, And is becomes the bellows and the fan To cool a gipsy's lust. Cleopatra's character is slightly unpin-able, as her character identity retains a certain aspect of mystery. She embodies the mystical, exotic, and dangerous nature of Egypt as the "serpent of old Nile". For her own person, It beggared all description. She did lie In her pavilion—cloth of gold, of tissue— O'er-picturing that Venus where we see The fancy outwork nature.
This mysteriousness attached with the supernatural not only captures the audience and Antony, but also, draws all other characters' focus. As a center of conversation when not present in the scene, Cleopatra is continually a central point, therefore demanding the control of the stage. Manipulation and the quest for power are very prominent themes not only in the play but specifically in the relationship between Antony and Cleopatra.
Both utilise language to undermine the power of the other and to heighten their own sense of power. Cleopatra uses language to undermine Antony's assumed authority over her. Cleopatra's "'Roman' language of command works to undermine Antony's authority. In their first exchange in Act I, scene 1, Cleopatra says to Antony, "I'll set a bourn how far to be beloved. Antony's language suggests his struggle for power against Cleopatra's dominion. Antony's "obsessive language concerned with structure, organization, and maintenance for the self and empire in repeated references to 'measure,' 'property,' and 'rule' express unconscious anxieties about boundary integrity and violation.
He also mentions losing himself in dotage—"himself" referring to Antony as Roman ruler and authority over people including Cleopatra. Cleopatra also succeeds in causing Antony to speak in a more theatrical sense and therefore undermine his own true authority. Yachnin's article focuses on Cleopatra's usurping of Antony's authority through her own and his language, while Hooks' article gives weight to Antony's attempts to assert his authority through rhetoric. Both articles indicate the lovers' awareness of each other's quests for power.
Despite awareness and the political power struggle existent in the play, Antony and Cleopatra both fail to achieve their goals by the play's conclusion. Antony and Cleopatra is essentially a male-dominated play in which the character of Cleopatra takes significance as one of few female figures and definitely the only strong female character. As Oriana Palusci says in her article "When Boys or Women Tell Their Dreams: Cleopatra and the Boy Actor", "Cleopatra constantly occupies the centre, if not of the stage, certainly of the discourse, often charged with sexual innuendos and disparaging tirades, of the male Roman world".
What is said about Cleopatra is not always what one would normally say about a ruler; the image that is created makes the audience expect "to see on stage not a noble Sovereign, but a dark, dangerous, evil, sensual and lewd creature who has harnessed the 'captain's heart". Phyllis Rackin points out that one of the most descriptive scenes of Cleopatra is spoken by Enobarbus: "in his famous set speech, Enobarbus evokes Cleopatra's arrival on the Cynus". It is in this way that "before the boy [playing Cleopatra] can evoke Cleopatra's greatness, he must remind us that he cannot truly represent it".
Rackin points out that "it is a commonplace of the older criticism that Shakespeare had to rely upon his poetry and his audience's imagination to evoke Cleopatra's greatness because he knew the boy actor could not depict it convincingly". The constant comments of the Romans about Cleopatra often undermine her, representing the Roman thought on the foreign and particularly of Egyptians.
From the perspective of the reason-driven Romans, Shakespeare's "Egyptian queen repeatedly violates the rules of decorum". And yet she is also shown as having real power in the play. Scholars have speculated that Shakespeare's original intention was to have Antony appear in Cleopatra's clothes and vice versa in the beginning of the play. This possible interpretation seems to perpetuate the connections being made between gender and power.
Gordon P. Jones elaborates on the importance of this detail:. Such a saturnalian exchange of costumes in the opening scene would have opened up a number of important perspectives for the play's original audience. It would immediately have established the sportiveness of the lovers. It would have prepared the ground for Cleopatra's subsequent insistence on appearing "for a man" III. The evidence that such a costume change was intended includes Enobarbus' false identification of Cleopatra as Antony:. Enobarbus could have made this error because he was used to seeing Antony in the queen's garments.
It can also be speculated that Philo was referring to Antony cross-dressing in Act 1, scene If Shakespeare had indeed intended for Antony to crossdress, it would have drawn even more similarities between Antony and Hercules, a comparison that many scholars have noted many times before. The Omphale myth is an exploration of gender roles in Greek society. Shakespeare might have paid homage to this myth as a way of exploring gender roles in his own. However, it has been noted that, while women dressing as men i.
Antony and Cleopatra also contains self-references to the crossdressing as it would have been performed historically on the London stage. Many scholars interpret these lines as a metatheatrical reference to Shakespeare's own production, and by doing so comments on his own stage. Shakespeare critics such as Tracey Sedinger interpret this as Shakespeare's critique of the London stage, which, by the perpetuation of boy actors playing the part of the woman, serves to establish the superiority of the male spectator's sexuality. It is in this manner that the London stage cultivated in its audience a chaste and obedient female subject, while positioning male sexuality as dominant.
Shakespeare critics argue that the metatheatrical references in Antony and Cleopatra seem to critique this trend and the presentation of Cleopatra as a sexually empowered individual supports their argument that Shakespeare seems to be questioning the oppression of female sexuality in London society. The boy actors portraying female sexuality on the London stage contradicted such a simple ontology.
Critics such as Rackin interpret Shakespeare's metatheatrical references to the crossdressing on stage with less concern for societal elements and more of a focus on the dramatic ramifications. Rackin argues in her article on "Shakespeare's Boy Cleopatra" that Shakespeare manipulates the crossdressing to highlight a motif of the play—recklessness—which is discussed in the article as the recurring elements of acting without properly considering the consequences.
Shakespeare, utilizing the metatheatrical reference to his own stage, perpetuates his motif of recklessness by purposefully shattering "the audience's acceptance of the dramatic illusion". Other critics argue that the crossdressing as it occurs in the play is less of a mere convention, and more of an embodiment of dominant power structures. Critics such as Charles Forker argue that the boy actors were a result of what "we may call androgyny". The textual motif of empire within Antony and Cleopatra has strong gendered and erotic undercurrents.
Antony, the Roman soldier characterised by a certain effeminacy, is the main article of conquest, falling first to Cleopatra and then to Caesar Octavius. That Cleopatra takes on the role of male aggressor in her relationship with Antony should not be surprising; after all, "a culture attempting to dominate another culture will [often] endow itself with masculine qualities and the culture it seeks to dominate with feminine ones"  —appropriately, the queen's romantic assault is frequently imparted in a political, even militaristic fashion.
Antony's subsequent loss of manhood seemingly "signifies his lost Romanness, and Act 3, Scene 10, is a virtual litany of his lost and feminised self, his "wounder chance". Little Jr. By the time Antony tries to use his sword to kill himself, it amounts to little more than a stage prop". Having failed to perform Roman masculinity and virtue, Antony's only means with which he might "write himself into Rome's imperial narrative and position himself at the birth of empire" is to cast himself in the feminine archetype of the sacrificial virgin; "once [he] understands his failed virtus , his failure to be Aeneas, he then tries to emulate Dido ".
James J Greene writes on the subject: "If one of the seminally powerful myths in the cultural memory of our past is Aeneas' rejection of his African queen in order to go on and found the Roman Empire , than it is surely significant that Shakespeare's [ sic ] For Antony He is incapable of "occupying the Her mastery is unparalleled when it comes to the seduction of certain powerful individuals, but popular criticism supports the notion that "as far as Cleopatra is concerned, the main thrust of the play's action might be described as a machine especially devised to bend her to the Roman will But instead of driving her down to ignominy, the Roman power forces her upward to nobility".
Arthur L. Little, in agitative fashion, suggests that the desire to overcome the queen has a corporeal connotation: "If a black—read foreign—man raping a white woman encapsulates an iconographic truth Antony and Cleopatra deals ambiguously with the politics of imperialism and colonization. Critics have long been invested in untangling the web of political implications that characterise the play.
Interpretations of the work often rely on an understanding of Egypt and Rome as they respectively signify Elizabethan ideals of East and West, contributing to a long-standing conversation about the play's representation of the relationship between imperializing western countries and colonised eastern cultures. Indeed, Cleopatra's suicide has been interpreted as suggesting an indomitable quality in Egypt, and reaffirming Eastern culture as a timeless contender to the West. Octavius Caesar is seen as Shakespeare's portrayal of an ideal governor, though perhaps an unfavourable friend or lover, and Rome is emblematic of reason and political excellence.
More contemporary scholarship on the play, however, has typically recognised the allure of Egypt for Antony and Cleopatra ' s audiences. Egypt's magnetism and seeming cultural primacy over Rome have been explained by efforts to contextualise the political implications of the play within its period of production. The various protagonists' ruling styles have been identified with rulers contemporary to Shakespeare. For example, there appears to be continuity between the character of Cleopatra and the historical figure of Queen Elizabeth I ,  and the unfavourable light cast on Caesar has been explained as deriving from the claims of various 16th-century historians.
The more recent influence of New Historicism and post-colonial studies have yielded readings of Shakespeare that typify the play as subversive, or challenging the status quo of Western imperialism. The critic Abigail Scherer's claim that "Shakespeare's Egypt is a holiday world"  recalls the criticisms of Egypt put forth by earlier scholarship and disputes them. Scherer and critics who recognise the wide appeal of Egypt have connected the spectacle and glory of Cleopatra's greatness with the spectacle and glory of the theatre itself. Plays, as breeding grounds of idleness, were subject to attack by all levels of authority in the s;  the play's celebration of pleasure and idleness in a subjugated Egypt makes it plausible to draw parallels between Egypt and the heavily censored theatre culture in England.
In the context of England's political atmosphere, Shakespeare's representation of Egypt, as the greater source of poetry and imagination, resists support for 16th century colonial practices. England during the Renaissance found itself in an analogous position to the early Roman Republic. Shakespeare's audience may have made the connection between England's westward expansion and Antony and Cleopatra ' s convoluted picture of Roman imperialism.
In support of the reading of Shakespeare's play as subversive, it has also been argued that 16th century audiences would have interpreted Antony and Cleopatra ' s depiction of different models of government as exposing inherent weaknesses in an absolutist, imperial, and by extension monarchical, political state. One of the ways to read the imperialist themes of the play is through a historical, political context with an eye for intertextuality.
Many scholars suggest that Shakespeare possessed an extensive knowledge of the story of Antony and Cleopatra through the historian Plutarch, and used Plutarch's account as a blueprint for his own play. A closer look at this intertextual link reveals that Shakespeare used, for instance, Plutarch's assertion that Antony claimed a genealogy that led back to Hercules, and constructed a parallel to Cleopatra by often associating her with Dionysus in his play. For instance, the quick exchange of dialogue might suggest a more dynamic political conflict.
Furthermore, certain characteristics of the characters, like Antony whose "legs bestrid the ocean" 5. Furthermore, because of the unlikelihood that Shakespeare would have had direct access to the Greek text of Plutarch's Parallel Lives and probably read it through a French translation from a Latin translation, his play constructs Romans with an anachronistic Christian sensibility that might have been influenced by St.
Augustine 's Confessions among others. As Miles writes, the ancient world would not have been aware of interiority and the contingence of salvation upon conscience until Augustine. So, Shakespeare's characters in Antony and Cleopatra , particularly Cleopatra in her belief that her own suicide is an exercise of agency, exhibit a Christian understanding of salvation. Another example of deviance from the source material is how Shakespeare characterises the rule of Antony and Cleopatra. While Plutarch singles out the "order of exclusive society" that the lovers surrounded themselves with—a society with a specifically defined and clear understanding of the hierarchies of power as determined by birth and status—Shakespeare's play seems more preoccupied with the power dynamics of pleasure as a main theme throughout the play.
Pleasure serves as a differentiating factor between Cleopatra and Antony, between Egypt and Rome, and can be read as the fatal flaw of the heroes if Antony and Cleopatra is a tragedy. For Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra , the exclusivity and superiority supplied by pleasure created the disconnect between the ruler and the subjects. Critics suggest that Shakespeare did similar work with these sources in Othello , Julius Caesar , and Coriolanus.
Antony and Cleopatra was never intended to be a tragedy; instead, Shakespeare gave the illusion of the tragedy as the two protagonists set out to become the heroes of the play and neither succeeded. Antony and Cleopatra are seen to have a passionate love for each other up till their demise as both are seen ending their lives for the other.
Although the couple was seen as a pair that could not live without the other, it does not take much to be able to point out that the basis of their relationship lies on manipulation and lust. Enobarbus was able to see this as he never believed their love was true but instead a contradiction. Cleopatra always wanted Antony to be in the palm of her hands, to always be in control of his emotions and would thus manipulate him by dancing whenever he was sad or fake a sickness if he were to be happy.
This makes Antony only chase after Cleopatra even more in a never-ending cycle. They both try to be much more than they are and show their enemies and the world that they are invincible. Rather than them sacrificing themselves for the other, the two protagonists set out to become the hero of the play and to show that being the last one standing, no hand will bring them down but their own. They did not die for love but for the fame that would come behind that sacrifice and in the end are seen as being noble and self-sacrificing.
It does not end in a tragedy but in a bittersweet and almost happy ending. Both of the lovers' fates are interwoven yet they deceive the other in a fight for dominance that Cleopatra wins for a while as the audience and other characters throughout the play know completely what is going on in the play filled with dramatic irony. Enobarbus once again knows of Antony's unrelenting attachment to Cleopatra and Cleopatra's mind games while the audience knows Cleopatra isn't dead as Antony kills himself over her.
They both spent their whole lives trying to achieve higher fame than the other and became notorious for their lust. They are their own Gods and live separate from those that they call normal and watch. The play progresses into the protagonists decline in fame, leaving them to pursue a sure way into that immortality they coveted. They become immortals in death along with even more fame and has as well achieved their goal from the beginning.
They die in the name of their love when they really die in the name of fame. A status of nobility higher than us and pity for the tragedy that is their relationship. The tragedy is Antony and Cleopatra's own happy ending as death was a small price to pay to become real gods. They proved that the only death that could touch them were by their own hand, further increasing that godly power they received from the people.
Now they are apart from those they watched, now they are above them, and now they will be worshipped as gods. The concept of luck, or Fortune, is frequently referenced throughout Antony and Cleopatra , portrayed as an elaborate "game" that the characters participate in. Shakespeare represents Fortune through elemental and astronomical imagery that recalls the characters' awareness of the "unreliability of the natural world". Antony eventually realises that he, like other characters, is merely "Fortune's knave," a mere card in the game of Chance rather than a player.
The manner in which the characters deal with their luck is of great importance, therefore, as they may destroy their chances of luck by taking advantage of their fortune to excessive lengths without censoring their actions, Antony did. While Fortune does play a large role in the characters' lives, they do have ability to exercise free will, however; as Fortune is not as restrictive as Fate. Antony's actions suggest this, as he is able to use his free will to take advantage of his luck by choosing his own actions. Like the natural imagery used to describe Fortune, scholar Michael Lloyd characterises it as an element itself, which causes natural occasional upheaval.
In-depth summary and analysis of every scene of Antony and Cleopatra. Visual theme-tracking, too. Explanations, analysis, and visualizations of Antony and Cleopatra 's themes. Antony and Cleopatra 's important quotes, sortable by theme, character, or scene. Description, analysis, and timelines for Antony and Cleopatra 's characters. Explanations of Antony and Cleopatra 's symbols, and tracking of where they appear. An interactive data visualization of Antony and Cleopatra 's plot and themes.
A troubled dynasty
Brief Biography of William Shakespeare Shakespeare's father was a glove-maker, and Shakespeare received no more than a grammar school education. He married Anne Hathaway in , but left his family behind around and moved to London, where he became an actor and playwright. He was an immediate success: Shakespeare soon became the most popular playwright of the day as well as a part-owner of the Globe Theater. His theater troupe was adopted by King James as the King's Men in Shakespeare retired as a rich and prominent man to Stratford-upon-Avon in , and died three years later.
Download it! In 44 BCE, the dictator Julius Caesar was assassinated, and then his assassins were killed in revenge. The weak Lepidus was easily squeezed out of the picture, and as Antony and Octavius amassed more and more power they moved toward a civil war against each other. The two fought a climactic battle near Actium in 33 BCE, at which the forces of Antony and Cleopatra were decisively defeated. Soon after, Octavius gained sole control over Rome, and gradually established a form of government called the Principate, commonly known as the Roman Empire. Cite This Page. MLA Chicago.