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Feminist critics of antony and cleopatra


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Feminist critics of Antony and Cleopatra.

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Feminist critics of antony and cleopatra

  1. 1. Antony and Cleopatra Feminist views By Claudia A.
  2. 2. What is Feminism? • Feminism is the commitment to achieving the equality of the sexes. This is not exclusive to women, as while males are seen as the dominant sex, they too need help in overcoming these restrictive roles that deprive them to express their true self’s.
  3. 3. Antony and Cleopatra & Feminism • Antony and Cleopatra can be seen in terms of gender and its associations with societal power roles. • Fitz’s article on Shakespeare’s ‘Quarterly’ for 1977, he commented that ‘male critics feel personally threatened by Cleopatra and what she represents to them.’(298) This is because the Cleopatra that Shakespeare has portrayed is a very complex character who both enchants, yet startles the audience.
  4. 4. Cleopatra Critics, including Wilders, have remarked that Shakespeare's Rome is a masculine and pragmatic city. However his Alexandrian Egypt, in contrast, is feminine, domestic, decadent, and individualistic, linked with pleasure. She is contrasted with many individuals such as Antony and Caesar, who are both associated with masculine features and a competitive drive to dominate the Empire. However many feminist critics claim that she represents an all- She embraces the feminine and the masculine, refusing to be subsumed by one or the other.
  5. 5. Antony Many critics argue that in this play, where Shakespeare again explores the idea of the victim within a patriarchal society, some argue that the true victim of this tragedy is Antony. He is stifled by the rules of the patriarchal society of Rome that only expects him to show his masculine side only, and to never adopt ‘feminine’ qualities such as passion, emotion and love, showing how little control Antony has over his life. However, after finding a power love with Cleopatra, Antony is unable to accept the ‘business first’ principle of the patriarchal laws, alas, the tragedy starts.
  6. 6. A feminist? It is claimed by many modern critics that Shakespeare was a feminist. Shapiro for example, claims that Shakespeare was ‘the noblest feminist of them all’. However many disagree with this, as Baker claims that ‘it is historically incorrect to regard him as a feminist. I believe that Shakespeare because of his extraordinary genius for portraying human behavior, necessarily depicted the condition of women within a patriarchal system and created women characters which in their richness, transcend the limitations of his time.