Shakespeare - Antony & Cleopatra


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Shakespeare - Antony & Cleopatra

  1. 1. • William Shakespeare’s most epic play, Antony and Cleopatra features international settings, several wars and battles, and an all-consuming love story. • The most geographically sweeping of Shakespeare’s plays, Antony and Cleopatra’s setting is the entire Roman Empire, its backdrop the well-documented history of Octavius Caesar, Marc Antony, and Cleopatra. • Scholars believe that Shakespeare wrote Antony and Cleopatra in 1606, immediately after Macbeth, and it is one of the last great tragedies that Shakespeare produced.
  2. 2. • Shakespeare’s primary source for Antony and Cleopatra was the Life of Marcus Antonius contained in Plutarch’s Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans, which was translated into English by Sir Thomas North in 1579. • North’s language was so rich that Shakespeare incorporated large, relatively unchanged excerpts of it into his text. • The plot of the play also remains close to North’s history, although characters like Enobarbus and Cleopatra’s attendants are largely Shakespearean creations.
  3. 3. • Marcus Antonius, commonly known in English as Mark Antony (April 20, 83 BC – August 1, 30 BC), was a Roman politician and general. As a military commander and administrator, he was an important supporter and loyal friend of his mother's cousin Julius Caesar. After Caesar's assassination, Antony formed an official political alliance with Octavian (the future Augustus) and Lepidus, known to historians today as the Second Triumvirate. • The triumvirate broke up in 33 BC. Disagreement between Octavian and Antony erupted into civil war, the final war of the Roman Republic, in 31 BC. Antony was defeated by Octavian at the naval Battle of Actium, and in a brief land battle at Alexandria. He and his lover Cleopatra committed suicide shortly thereafter. His career and defeat are significant in Rome's transformation from Republic to Empire.
  4. 4. • Cleopatra VII Philopator (Late 69 BC[1] – August 12, 30 BC), known to history as Cleopatra, was the last pharaoh of Ancient Egypt. • She was a member of the Ptolemaic dynasty, a family of Greek origin that ruled Egypt after Alexander the Great's death during the Hellenistic period. Cleopatra represented herself as the reincarnation of an Egyptian goddess, Isis. • After Caesar's assassination in 44 BC, she aligned with Mark Antony in opposition to Caesar's legal heir, Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus. With Antony, she bore the twins Cleopatra Selene II and Alexander Helios, and another son, Ptolemy Philadelphus. • After losing the Battle of Actium to Octavian's forces, Antony committed suicide. Cleopatra followed suit, according to tradition killing herself by means of an asp bite on August 12, 30 BC.
  5. 5. • Mark Antony (General of the Roman Army), Octavian, and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, three men (triumvirs) who rule Rome after the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 B.C. • Cleopatra VII, Queen of Egypt • Sextus Pompey – Son of the late Pompey the Great. • Octavia the Younger, Octavian's sister. • Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, Military commander and advisor of Octavian.
  6. 6. • Mark Antony, one of the three rulers of the Roman Empire, spends his time in Egypt, living a life of decadence and conducting an affair with the country’s beautiful queen, Cleopatra. • When a message arrives informing him that his wife, Fulvia, is dead and that Pompey is raising an army to rebel against the triumvirate, Antony decides to return to Rome. • Upon his arrival, he and Caesar quarrel, while Lepidus ineffectually tries to make peace. • Realizing that an alliance is necessary to defeat Pompey, Antony and Caesar agree that Antony will marry Caesar’s sister, Octavia. • Antony’s closest friend predicts to Caesar’s men that, despite the marriage, Antony will surely return to Cleopatra.
  7. 7. • In Egypt, Cleopatra learns of Antony’s marriage and flies into a jealous rage. However, when a messenger delivers word that Octavia is plain and unimpressive, Cleopatra becomes confident that she will win Antony back. • The triumvirs meet Pompey and settle their differences without going to battle. Pompey agrees to keep peace in exchange for rule over Sicily and Sardinia. • Antony and Octavia depart for Athens. Once they are gone, Caesar breaks his truce, wages war against Pompey, and defeats him. • This news angers Antony, as do the rumors that Caesar has been speaking out against him in public.
  8. 8. • Antony returns to Egypt and to Cleopatra, where he begins to build an Army against Caesar; Caesar hears of his treachery and sends the powerful Roman Navy to Egypt. • Cleopatra begs Antony to let her lead her own ships against Caesar’s forces, and he reluctantly agrees; • But in the heat of the fight, Cleopatra leaves the battle, and Antony follows her, leaving their forces to wither against Caesar’s might. • Anthony rages against Cleopatra, but pressing on, wins more battles, only to find that the Egyptians are no match for the armies of Rome.
  9. 9. • Cleopatra senses imminent defeat, and she tells a servant to relate to Antony that she has committed suicide. • In anguish, he falls on his sword, mortally wounding himself, and she, after being captured by Caesar, rather than ending up being displayed as a trophy of war, commits suicide by allowing herself to be poisoned by several deadly asps.
  10. 10. • William Shakespeare introduces a tension between reason and emotion that runs throughout the play • If Antony is the military hero and disciplined statesmen that Caesar and others believe him to be, then he seems to have happily abandoned his reason in order to pursue his passion. He declares: “Let Rome in Tiber melt, and the wide arch / Of the ranged empire fall” (I.i.35–36). The play, however, is more concerned with the battle between reason and emotion than the triumph of one over the other, and this battle is waged most forcefully in the character of Antony. • He is, in the end, a man ruled by passion as much as by reason. Likewise, the play offers us a worldview in which one sensibility cannot easily dominate another. Reason cannot ever fully conquer the passions, nor can passion wholly undo reason.
  11. 11. There ’s beggary in the love that can be reckon’d. Antony and Cleopatra. Act i. Sc. 1. This grief is crowned with consolation. Antony and Cleopatra. Act i. Sc. 2. The barge she sat in, like a burnish’d throne, Burn’d on the water; the poop was beaten gold; Purple the sails, and so perfumed that The winds were love-sick with them; the oars were silver, Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made The water which they beat to follow faster, As amorous of their strokes. For her own person, It beggar’d all description. Antony and Cleopatra. Act ii. Sc. 2. Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale Her infinite variety. Antony and Cleopatra. Act ii. Sc. 2. I have not kept my square; but that to come Shall all be done by the rule. Antony and Cleopatra. Act ii. Sc. 3. He wears the rose Of youth upon him. Antony and Cleopatra. Act iii. Sc. 13. Men’s judgments are A parcel of their fortunes; and things outward Do draw the inward quality after them, To suffer all alike. Antony and Cleopatra. Act iii. Sc. 13. I am dying, Egypt, dying. Antony and Cleopatra. Act iv. Sc. 15. I have Immortal longings in me. Antony and Cleopatra. Act v. Sc. 2.
  12. 12. • There have been nearly a dozen film adaptions of Anthony and Cleopatra. Notable versions include: • The first, a 1908 silent film, as well as silent adaptions in 1913 and 1914; • A lavish, 1973 film version starring Charleton Heston and Hildegard Neil; • A 1975 television adaption starring Richard Johnson and Janet Suzman. • The timeless appeal of the tragic romance of Antony and Cleopatra has also been adapted into classical music, opera, and ballet.
  13. 13. A Nutsy The Squirrel Production Copyright 2012 Oak Hills Media Center All Rights Reserved.