Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare

Antony and Cleopatra

by William Shakespeare

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,620381,458 (3.75)102
  1. 10
    Antony and Cleopatra by Adrian Goldsworthy (laura_88)
  2. 00
    Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (Waldstein)
    Waldstein: Shakespeare's treatments of passionate, irrational and self-destructive love between teenagers (R&J) and mature people (A&C) make for a truly fascinating comparison. The vastly greater political and metaphysical implications, as well as the extreme concentration of the language, in the later play show how far Shakespeare developed for just over a decade.… (more)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 102 mentions

English (36)  Spanish (1)  Swedish (1)  All (38)
Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
The problem with this was trying to negotiate Cleopatra's histrionics as a part of her intellectual scheming, as I think, just reading the play in a modern classroom, some of the effect is lost and she gets very easily dismissed as an over-dramatic flake. I read it after the class studied it, of course, and being prone to defence of such famous plays pretty much my only argument was, "Well T.S. Eliot liked it." Of course, me and "Old Possum" don't agree on everything by any means, and while this play was his favourite I wouldn't call it mine--it remains interesting but my chief curiosity is brought up by Cleopatra herself, namely how a boy-actor can try to play the role of such a mature and complicated female character from history. ( )
  likecymbeline | Apr 1, 2017 |
First reading of this play. For me it is definitely a play of two halves. The first three acts felt rather tedious and the dialogue unmemorable. But the fourth act, divided into no less than 13 scenes, mostly very short, contained the famous meat of the drama. Act 5 scene 2 also served as a dramatic conclusion. ( )
  john257hopper | Mar 20, 2017 |
I guess I am not a big fan of Shakespeare's Roman plays. The melodramatic characters turn me off. ( )
  Sareene | Oct 22, 2016 |
William Shakespeare

Antony and Cleopatra

Routledge, Hardback, 1995.

8vo. xviii+331 pp. Arden Shakespeare: Third Series. Edited by John Wilders. General editors' preface [x-xiv]. Preface [xv-xvi] and Introduction [1-84] by the editor.

Written, c. 1606.
First published, 1623 [F1].
This edition first published, 1995.


List of Illustrations
General editors’ preface

- Jacobean performance
- The question of unity
- The question of structure
- The question of moral judgement
- The question of the tragic
- Language and style
- The sources
- The date of composition
- The text

Antony and Cleopatra

Longer notes
Appendix: Folio lineation
Abbreviations and references
- Abbreviations used in notes
- Shakespeare’s works
- Editions of Shakespeare collated
- Other works


This is not a review of the play, but of this particular edition. What I have to say about the play I have said it elsewhere.

This is a heretical thing to say, but there it is: I find the Arden Shakespeare rather oppressive. The scholarship is impeccable, but I do wish there were less of it. Each page of the play is half occupied with footnotes – two types of them. In small but still fairly readable font, there are exhaustive explanations of the text. Far from being satisfied merely to “translate” obscure words and phrases, they quote various definitions from previous editors or OED, go deeply into textual variants and why some of them were accepted or rejected, compare Shakespeare with Plutarch, etc., etc. Each scene has a prefatory note that deals extensively with the location and the action in the context of the other scenes. Below all this, in still smaller font, the major textual emendations are listed, together with their original editors and corresponding passages from the First Folio – if you’re interested. It goes without saying that Shakespeare does need a good deal of annotation. But that’s a little too much.

The introduction by Mr Wilders is a long, somewhat rambling and repetitious, scrupulously researched and painfully humourless essay on every aspect of the play. Only an academic could write something like that. Now, there are two chief problems with academic writers. First, they seldom realise that humour is not necessarily the same thing as flippancy. Second, the poor wretches have read so much that they no longer have their own opinions: their views are patchworks of what previous scholars have said, and they have to quote and source everything meticulously lest they be accused of plagiarism. All this makes for anything but an easy read.

Mr Wilders does have some interesting points, though. About the structure, the language and the characters he has no striking insights to offer, but his historical background is entertaining and even thought-provoking.

For example, in a footnote he speculates that some of the extremely difficult female parts from Shakespeare’s late years, notably Cleopatra, Volumnia and Lady Macbeth, may have been written for the same boy actor of exceptional talent. “If we are skeptical about an adolescent boy’s ability to do justice to the role [of Cleopatra]”, continues the editor, “it is probably because we underestimate the intelligence of children of that age.” I think Mr Wilders is wrong here. Understanding Shakespeare is not a matter of intelligence but of experience. That’s what children cannot possibly have and that’s what makes books like Tales from Shakespeare (1807) completely ridiculous. But the editor’s main point remains valid: boys in Shakespeare’s times were probably far more experienced (or intelligent, if you like) and thus capable of playing complex women on the stage.

The introduction also contains an illuminating discussion of the performance history. From the middle of the eighteenth to the end of the nineteenth century, Antony and Cleopatra suffered a lot in the hands of self-indulgent producers who mounted abominable extravaganzas, pompous processions, sea battles and all, which had little to do with the austere and swiftly paced Jacobean stage, not to mention extensive abridgements and changes of Shakespeare’s text. Ironically enough, this theatrical degradation reached the point when Shakespeare’s language, the chief glory of his plays, was pushed into the background as the least important part of the production. William Poel and Harley Granville-Barker changed all that in the beginning of the last century.

The book is illustrated with ten black-and-white figures reproduced in good quality. They range from a map of the Mediterranean c. 31 BC and facsimiles of the First Folio to drawings of theatres from Shakespeare’s time and photos of famous Cleopatras (including the forbidding Dorothy Green in 1912 and the gorgeous Janet Suzman in 1970). The list of references in the end is impressive, to say the least. “Editions of Shakespeare collated” gives no fewer than 30 different editions of Antony and Cleopatra, most of them part from mighty sets with Shakespeare’s complete works, from the first four folios (1623, 1632, 1663, 1685), Rowe (1709), Pope (1720s) and Dr Johnson (1765) to the most recent efforts of Penguin (Emrys Jones, 1977), Cambridge (David Bevington, 1990) and Oxford (Stanley Wells & Gary Taylor, 1986; 2nd edn., 2005). “Other Works” is a dizzying miscellany of everything quoted by Mr Wilders in his editorial contributions, from Plutarch, Bacon, Montaigne and a small army of Shakespearean scholars to dictionaries and periodicals.

In conclusion, make sure to have this edition on your shelves as a reference, but don’t use it for your first reading of the play. Choose a more lightly annotated edition for that purpose, for example the current Penguin Shakespeare (the New Cambridge and the Oxford World’s Classics are almost as suffocating as Arden), or even G. B. Harrison’s rather more sparsely edited versions in the Penguin Popular Classics. It will be more difficult for sure, but you will have a degree of freedom that is not allowed here. Endnotes are more cumbersome than footnotes, but the play is much easier to read when printed full-page. You might be surprised how seldom you need to refer to the notes… ( )
  Waldstein | Mar 22, 2016 |
Cleopatra: the fiercest, most fabulous queen in Shakespeare.
Marc Antony: can't even commit suicide right. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (153 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Shakespeare, Williamprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Andrew, Stephen A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bate, JonathanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brissaud, PierreIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Canby, Henry Seidelsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dennis, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Everett, BarbaraEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harrison, George B.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hudson, Henry N.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kittredge, George LymanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lamar, Virginia A.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Neill, MichaelEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ridley, M. R.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sagarra, Josep M. deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shaw, ByamIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weis, RenéIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weis, ReneEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wright, Louis B.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Is contained in

Has the (non-series) prequel

Has the adaptation

Was inspired by

Has as a study

Has as a student's study guide

You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Nay, but this dotage of our general's
O'erflows the measure: those his goodly eyes,
That o'er the files and musters of the war
Have glow'd 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 great fights hath burst
The buckles on his breast, reneges all temper,
And is become the bellows and the fan
To cool a gipsy's lust.
My salad days,
When I was green in judgment.
Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
Her infinite variety.
Small to greater matters must give way.
Since Cleopatra died,
I have liv'd in such dishonour that the gods
Detest my baseness.
I have
Immortal longings in me.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This work is for the COMPLETE "Antony and Cleopatra" ONLY. Do not combine this work with abridgements, adaptations or "simplifications" (such as "Shakespeare Made Easy"), Cliffs Notes or similar study guides, or anything else that does not contain the full text. Do not include any video recordings. Additionally, do not combine this with other plays.
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743482859, Mass Market Paperback)

Each edition includes:

· Freshly edited text based on the best early printed version of the play

· Full explanatory notes conveniently placed on pages facing the text of the play

· Scene-by-scene plot summaries

· A key to famous lines and phrases

· An introduction to reading Shakespeare's language

· An essay by a leading Shakespeare scholar providing a modern perspective on the play

· Illustrations from the Folger Shakespeare Library's vast holdings of rare books

Essay by Cynthia Marshall

The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., is home to the world's largest collection of Shakespeare's printed works, and a magnet for Shakespeare scholars from around the globe.

In addition to exhibitions open to the public throughout the year, the Folger offers a full calendar of performances and programs.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:22 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Blending history and high drama, Antony and Cleopatra remains one of Shakespeare's finest achievements.

» see all 10 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.75)
1 6
1.5 3
2 35
2.5 10
3 134
3.5 33
4 173
4.5 15
5 119


5 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

» Publisher information page

Yale University Press

An edition of this book was published by Yale University Press.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 113,764,713 books! | Top bar: Always visible