William Shakespeare: Antony and Cleopatra (1941 words)

Helen Whall (College of the Holy Cross )
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Context

Traditionally grouped with Shakespeare’s “Roman plays”, Antony and Cleopatra opens and closes in Egypt. Probably written in 1606-07, it was not printed until the 1623 Folio. Beginning with the Folio, editors have traditionally imposed classical act/scene divisions on a play that contains 42 scenes. Those scenes move rapidly between Egyptian and Roman settings, between land and sea. Since such fluidity defies classical division, many early critics pronounced Shakespeare’s structure “flawed”. His primary source, Thomas North’s 1579 translation of Plutarch’s Lives, similarly misled scholars to assume that Antony and Cleopatra celebrates the rise of …

Citation: Whall, Helen. "Antony and Cleopatra". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 18 August 2020 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=6560, accessed 30 September 2020.]

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