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Antony and Cleopatra (1606)

by William Shakespeare, Shakespeare, William Shakespeare

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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5,572591,889 (3.73)146
Mark Antony, one of the three rulers of the Roman world, has become the thrall of the fascinating Cleopatra. Affairs of state call him to Rome, but the attractions of the queen of Egypt prove impossible to resist. From one of history's greatest love stories Shakespeare builds this magnificent tragedy of the clash between love and duty.… (more)
  1. 10
    Antony and Cleopatra by Adrian Goldsworthy (laura_88)
  2. 00
    Hamburger Lesehefte : William Shakespeare : Romeo und Julia + Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: 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)

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English (54)  Spanish (2)  Italian (1)  Swedish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (59)
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
Right away the play catches you off-base, with a scene showing the title romance well underway. We don't get an insight as to how it began until Act 2, scene ii, by which time we have a pretty good idea these guys, unlike say Romeo and Juliet, are lovers crossed not by the stars but by themselves. Antony has a chip on his shoulder from knowing he deserves to rule over Rome and not serve in tandem with two lightweights. Cleopatra is a woman who likes to make her men dance, even to the point when it isn't good for her, but she's such fun and so luminous a presence even when she is the butt of the humor you have to love her with Antony's blind passion. Just watch her play Punch & Judy with a luckless messenger who has to tell her about Antony's new wife.

Two elements stand out in the reading of this play, beyond the glorious leads. The figure of Enobarbus, Antony's sardonic aide-de-camp, offers a great insight into the romance and the political backdrop with his cagy asides and singular wit. "That truth should be silent I had almost forgot," he tells his boss, but it never really is with Enobarbus on the job.

The other element is "Antony And Cleopatra's" cinematic quality, with no less than 42 scenes set in Rome, Greece, and Egypt. Lovemaking, drinking, battles, and jump-cuts abound. There are longish scenes, like the final one, but even there the action moves fast. It might be considered a failing that so much of what happens on stage up until the last two acts is basically reaction action to storylines that occur off-frame, but Shakespeare makes the drama come so alive, and draws his focus so remarkably on his imperfect central lovers, that you only marvel at what he is able to accomplish without, say, a staged first meeting between Antony and Cleopatra, or a more direct falling out between Antony and Octavian Caesar.

One of the great attractions for me of reading this play is it works as a kind of antidote to Shakespeare's other celebrated romance. Romeo And Juliet are lovers in the full bloom of youth, toyed with by others' ambitions. Antony and Cleopatra are older and more in charge of their lives, yet make an even bigger hash of things. A street fight in Verona pales in comparison to Actium, yet I find Antony and Cleopatra as I get older far more rewarding company, with their refusal to live their lives in accordance with other's wants. ( )
  b00kdarling87 | Jan 7, 2024 |
جدای از زیبایی نمایشنامه و داستان، دو نکته‌ی برجسته نظر من رو به خودش جلب کرد:

اول نوع پرده‌بندی در این نمایشنامه که انگار در پرده پیشین داستان تمام می‌شد و داستان دیگه‌ای آغاز می‌شد... مثلاً در پرده‌ی دوم آنتونی و قیصر درگیر توطئه‌ی پومپی هستند، اما در پایان پرده‌ی دوم این قسمت از قصه به پایان می‌رسه و داستان بخش دیگری آغاز می‌شه.

دوم نوع شخصیت‌پردازی شخصیت‌ها... تا آخر نمایشنامه با اینکه با شخصیت‌های اصلی هم‌دردی می‌کنید، اما نمی‌تونید با طیب خاطر حق رو بهشون بدید یا بگید که دنبال باطل رفتند... شخصیت‌ها تا حدود زیادی (اونقدر که در قرن 17 اجازه می‌داده و مخاطب رو می‌تونسته درگیر کنه) خاکستری‌اند... این نکته وقتی جالب‌تر می‌شه که این نمایشنامه از روی زندگی شخصیت‌هایی نوشته شده که واقعاً وجود داشتند و خاکستری بودنشون به نمایش بعد انسانی‌شون بسیار کمک کرده. ( )
  Mahdi.Lotfabadi | Oct 16, 2022 |
This tragedy features triumvir Mark Antony and Queen of Egypt Cleopatra. She loves him although he is married. Octavius Caesar, the third political figure in the book, keeps the play's action interesting. Based on texts from Plutarch's Lives, we learn a little history of the Roman Republic prior to the time of Christ. It's not my favorite Shakespeare, but I liked it better after reading it this second time. I probably would not have re-read it, if I"d remembered how Cleopatra died. It's a classic, and a great way to share a little ancient history. ( )
  thornton37814 | Jul 28, 2022 |
Would LOVE to see this played as a screwball comedy all the way through, yes, including all the deaths at the end. Cleopatra is one of the funniest and broadest characters in Shakespeare, and what's more comedic than triumvers drunkenly discoursing on the crocodile, or, you know, a man botching his own disembowelment? For heaven's sake, the most dramatic scene in the play is interrupted for several minutes when a clown stumbles into it and refuses to take his cue to leave. ( )
  misslevel | Sep 22, 2021 |
Inspired by having read Shakespearean earlier in the year, I determined to listen to those Shakespeare plays I could find in the library. This is the first alphabetically (you got to start somewhere).
It is also one I know next to nothing about and next time I would read the synopsis and character list first - that would have helped somewhat. Anyway on to the play. I think that Cleopatra deserves an epitaph along the lines of nothing in life became her so much as leaving. Through the play she doesn't always display in the best light, her behaviour towards the bearer of bad tidings is unkind and her jealousy towards Mark Antony's wives is beneath her. However she certainly comes into her own in the final scene and makes an exit that is nothing if not memorable.
Mark Antony doesn't quite finish on the same high. He takes an inordinate time to finish the deal. He comes over as torn between his desire and duty and never manages to make a decision which side he is actually on until the last - and even then he needs to be pushed.
It is highly likely that I've missed any amount of nuance and subtlety in this, but it was an enjoyable listen, I just know I need to do a smidge more home work next time. ( )
  Helenliz | Sep 9, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (241 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Shakespeare, Williamprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Shakespearemain authorall editionsconfirmed
Shakespeare, Williammain authorall editionsconfirmed
Andrew, Stephen A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bate, JonathanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bevington, DavidEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bloom, HaroldAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brissaud, PierreIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brooks, Harold F.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Canby, Henry Seidelsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Case, R. H.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Craig, W. J.Contributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dennis, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ellis-Fermor, UnaContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Everett, BarbaraEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gollancz, IsraelPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harrison, George B.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hudson, Henry N.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jenkins, HaroldEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, Emryssecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kittredge, George LymanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kredel, FritzCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lamar, Virginia A.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morris, BrianEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Neill, MichaelEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Perosa, SergioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Phialas, Peter G.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Raffel, BurtonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ridley, M. R.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ridley, M. R.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rolfe, W. J.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rolfe, William J.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

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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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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.
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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Mark Antony, one of the three rulers of the Roman world, has become the thrall of the fascinating Cleopatra. Affairs of state call him to Rome, but the attractions of the queen of Egypt prove impossible to resist. From one of history's greatest love stories Shakespeare builds this magnificent tragedy of the clash between love and duty.

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