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Download Antony and Cleopatra: New Critical Essays (Shakespeare by Sara Munson Deats PDF

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By Sara Munson Deats

Complementing different volumes within the Shakespeare feedback sequence, this choice of twenty unique essays will extend the serious contexts within which Antony and Cleopatra could be loved as either literature and theater. The essays will hide a large spectrum of subject matters and make the most of a range of scholarly methodologies, together with textual and performance-oriented ways, intertextual reports, in addition to feminist, psychoanalytical, Marxist, and postcolonial inquiries. the quantity also will characteristic an intensive creation by way of the editor surveying the under-examined functionality heritage and significant trends/legacy of this complicated play. individuals comprise favourite Shakespeare students David Bevington, Dympna Callaghan, Leeds Barroll, David Fuller, Dorothea Kehler, and Linda Woodbridge.

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Yet many commentators berate her for vacillating, adducing the scene in which her treasurer Seleucus accuses her of withholding money and other assets from Caesar as proof that she is not resolute for death and is keeping all options open. Thus, the Seleucus episode has become a central crux of the play and because of its manifest ambiguities is often cut in performance. In response to these skeptics, commentators since Adolf Stahr (1864) have asserted that in Shakespeare’s play, as in Plutarch, the episode of the concealed treasure is a ruse, orchestrated by Cleopatra and rehearsed with Seleucus, devised to gull Caesar into believing that Cleopatra desires to live, thus making him less vigilant in his guard; moreover, the subterfuge works perfectly, and Caesar is “unpolicied” (qtd.

H. Case (1906), although admiring Antony’s magnanimity, criticizes Antony’s treacherous and cold-blooded treatment of Octavia, calling into question the commonplace that Shakespeare changed his sources to civilize the portrait of Antony inherited from Plutarch. Mythic exegetes have had a heyday with Antony, identifying in this colossal figure an avatar of Hercules, Mars, Bacchus/Dionysus, and even Osiris. Moreover, the multiple, often contradictory associations of these mythic deities enhance the contrariety of Antony’s paradoxical image.

Denton Snider (1876) was one of the first critics to identify Octavius as the “true Roman” and ideal ruler, a view espoused by Phillips (1940) who analyzes Octavius, Lepidus, Pompey, and Antony against traditional standards of leadership, concluding that only Octavius displays the capabilities of the successful leader, which he defines as reason ruling passion, sobriety, temperance, consistency, and, surprisingly—Antony’s legendary virtue—magnanimity. Battenhouse (1969) expands the contrast between the temperate Octavius and the intemperate Antony, a critical position supported more recently by Christopher Wortham (1995), who presents Octavius as displaying “a kind of temperance that wins him the field and prepares him for empire” (27).

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