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Antony and Cleopatra
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Antony and Cleopatra

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3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  17,889 ratings  ·  506 reviews
In its towering central characters, vast geographical and historical sweep, and its variety of style and mood, 'Anthony and Cleopatra' is perhaps the most ambitious of Shakespear's designs. Yet the degree and nature of its success remain surprisingly contentious, and performances of the play have seldom matched the extravagant expectations of its admirers.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 24th 2007 by Yale University Press (first published 1606)
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Bill  Kerwin

This play is so good that it is not merely a masterpiece but a mystery. The two protagonists are alternately noble and petty, wise and foolish, and yet never seem inconsistent or self-contradictory because Shakespeare--here is the mystery--consistently maintains a tone that is paradoxically both ironic and heroic. Part of it is the language, which shifts seamlessly from mellifluous monologues adorned with cosmic imagery (comparing Anthony and Cleopatra to continents, stars,etc.) to the most mode
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Fahad
أنطونيو وكليوباترا

تعلمنا في (روميو وجولييت) أنه عندما يحب فتى وفتاة، فإن الأمر ينتهي بموتى وعوائل مكلومة، أما هنا فنتعلم أنه عندما يحب ملك وملكة، فإن الأمر ينتهي بحرب وأمة مغلوبة.

إن قصة كليوباترا من دون حتى أن تقرن بأنطونيو هي قصة مثيرة، إنها ملكة وعشيقة، عشقت أولاً وتزوجت يوليوس قيصر الذي وصلت إليه كما تقول الأسطورة ملفوفة في سجادة، ثم بعدما قتل على يد المتآمرين في روما، عشقت مارك أنطونيو حتى انتحرت بعد موته، كل هذه الحياة المليئة بالحروب والدسائس والمؤمرات، وكل ما قيل عن جمالها الأخاذ يجعلها
...more
Kay Fair
Their celebrity couple name would be... AntoPatra.

And essentially, that is what Antony and Cleopatra are: a celebrity couple. And just like the crazy jump-on-the-couch love of TomKat, their affection is subject to deep suspicion and speculation by the public. The romance of AntoPatra is often compared with that of Romeo and Juliet in regard to both passion and poetry. However, the circumstance of celebrity makes Antony and Cleopatra vastly, sadly different from the star-crossed young lovers of V
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David
What does it say about me that I find myself so much in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra? More-so even than in Hamlet. In Cleopatra I see my many shortcomings in love: my possessiveness, my jealousies, my need for attention and affection, and most of all the need to have love proven again and again; and ultimately these are the foibles which bring about my own destruction in love. Like Cleopatra, I think I know my advantages, what angles I look best, where best to drive conversation, what acti ...more
Ben Dutton
This is not a play you read for plot. Yes, an awful lot happens – empires fall, I guess, and there are battles and personal tragedies, and it has the scale of an epic. But all those thing, they happen in the periphery. They are the background against which Shakespeare imagines the romance and fall of two great lovers – Anthony and Cleopatra.

This play is one of Shakespeare’s great poetical works. There are innumerable quotable lines here, and the lovers express themselves with such eloquence, it
...more
Rhiannon Johnson
The character Cleopatra, in William Shakespeare's “Antony and Cleopatra,” possesses a multitude of contradictions. Through constant clashes in speech and action, Shakespeare constructs a complex female character. Critic Anna Jameson refers to Cleopatra as “a brilliant antithesis—a compound of contradictions” (Quint 244). Jameson recognizes Shakespeare's “deep meaning and wonderous [sic] skill in the apparent enigma” of Cleopatra (244). Shakespeare remediates the stories of Plutarch and Genesis t ...more
Helen (Helena/Nell)
I like this play. I love the poetry of it. Some of the lines seem to have lingered in my mind all my life:

"Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale,
Her infinite variety."

and

"The demi-Atlas of this earth, the arm
And burgonet of men. "

They are great lovers, Anthony and Cleopatra, and it is marvelous that they are not young lovers like Romeo and Juliet, just great lovers. I can’t help seeing Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton: magnificent actors, huge and flawed and able to create a fabulous spell
...more
Emadeddin
description

أنتوني و كليوبترا، يا لها من مسرحية!

أعترف أنني لم أكن أتوقع أن تكون الرواية بهذا الشكل. بالطبع توقعت أن تكون جميلة وتوقعت أيضاً أن أحبّـها، ولكنني لم أتصور شخصيات المسرحية أن تكون بهذا الشكل. وبالذات كليوبترا، شخصيتها صدمتني!

فقبل أن أبدأ بقراءة المسرحية كنت أتوقع أن تكون كليوبترا قوية، مُلهِمةً، عظيمة وحكيمة جداً. ولكن المفاجأة كانت في أن شخصيتها الحقيقية كما هي في المسرحية كانت شخصية مليئة بالفجوات ونقاط الضعف. هي لم تكن قوية، بل كانت جميلة جداً وفي جمالها كانت قوتها! فبمجرد نظرة منها يذوب المل
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Cati Kennedy
Ésta es mi opinión, que puede no ser la de la mayoría; y estoy de acuerdo con eso.

Bueno, le iba a poner una estrella porque la verdad que Antonio y Cleopatra, los dos juntitos, me sacaban los sesos uno por uno. No me bancaba a ninguno. Pero al final se llevó dos estrellas porque sus muertes recompensaron lo mal que me cayeron (sí, sí, TAN así) (no creo que el hecho de que se mueran sea un spoiler, el o los personajes que aparecen en los títulos de las tragedias de Shakespeare siempre mueren) (pa

...more
Rowland Bismark
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. 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. Shakespeare’s primary source for Antony and Cleopatra was the Life of Marcus Antonius contained in Plutarch’s Lives of the Noble ...more
R.J. Askew
A WONDERFUL PIECE OF WORK


Love. Power. Love. Power. Which is the eye drawn to? It’s said women love powerful men. So does love follow power? Wealth seems to. Are powerful men happier than all the rest? And powerful women? It’s said that men are terrified of them. And if the lover loves the power more than its holder? Can love conquor power? And if it does? What of power then? Can a powerful man surrender to love and remain powerful? Behind every powerful man… Power. Love. Power. Love. Antony. Cl
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Stephanie
Book club selection (and I wish they had the correct edition to put here, because I'm superficially annoyed by how this one looks).

Edit: This is a play that I didn't like all that much the first time I read it. I am temperamentally prejudiced against characters who put Grand Passion over duty, to start with, so began with a chip on my shoulder against Antony. Then, of course, it's not the easiest Shakespeare play to read and there are a crazy number of scenes and all sorts of things that happen
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Chris
When everyone thinks of great Shakespearean plays, Hamlet springs to mind, or Lear , or The Tempest, or Dream or the lust filled R&J. I, however, think Tony and Cleo, if I may be informal, is one of Shakespeare's best.

Instead of the heady, young lust, sorry, love that is R&J we are presented with a mature love affair, a love affair that perhaps echoes the court of King James I. A world where the playwright is entirely sympathetic to an Antony who allows his appetite to dominate him. What
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Jim
I'm a little embarrassed I've put off reading this play for decades, because I've always assumed it would be dull, not in the stratosphere with the Great Tragedies. It was anything but dull – but then again, it may not be a tragedy either. Shakespeare virtually invented these larger-than-life characters. As John Wilders (the editor of the Arden edition) points out, the final scene "is unlike anything in Shakespeare's other tragedies and its uniqueness arises in part from the deliberately spectac ...more
sologdin
zombie queen seduces revenger of Julius Caesar, thereby homewrecking the SPQR, then kills self in order to avoid self-reflexive theatrical spectacle, which must be exactly like listening to one's own voice on voicemail.
Clif Hostetler
Rulers fall in love. Rulers lose. Rulers commit suicide. That's the simplified synopses which I admit that I borrowed from Shelfari.com. There's an obvious parallel with Romeo and Juliet, but Antony and Cleopatra were old enough to know better. But I guess love is love, and what does age have to do with it?

I read Antony and Cleopatra because it was this year's Shakespeare selection by the Great Books KC group I belong to. This book contains lots of history and geography, and I like that sort of
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Molly
Loved this one. Fascinated by Cleopatra's ability to lead and wrap Antony around her little finger... How cool to add William Shakespeare to a chain championing the cause of women! And I love thinking about Cleopatra’s end in this light—that despite all of her flaws, she gets a final say on being female.

And now some grad school thoughts on being a king...
How could James I have wanted to see himself in the Augustus Caesar of Antony and Cleopatra? I admit to being an Antony fan, but Caesar squeez
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matt

Fantastic...

Cleopatra is every bit the grand, Olympian but human character on par with Lear, Othello, Richard III, and the melancholy Dane...

I want to write more about this play (with quotes! with quotes!) but I'm lacking in time at the moment...

...Still lacking the time and inclination to hold forth in grand style on this one.

But I can't resist pointing out that the adaptation the commentary praises the most is the one directed by Trevor Nunn, which was filmed in 1972 or something and is av
...more
Nikki
I didn't like Antony and Cleopatra very much at the beginning -- but then, it always seems to take about an act for me to get into the swing of a Shakespeare play. It helps with Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra that I'm familiar with the history it's based on. It took me a while to warm to the characters of Antony and Cleopatra, though, but for all that there's something very human about the way Cleopatra reacts to Antony -- now this, now that -- and how he responds to her.

There are, of co
...more
Debra
I received a copy of this book/play through good reads first reads giveaway. I really enjoyed it! it took me the beginning of the first act to get used to the writing. I really liked how Shakespeare made all of the characters human, flawed yet strong at the same time. I knew the story of course, but Shakespeare brought it to life. I had never read this work before but I am really glad I won this book. I haven't read Shakespeare in a long time and now I want to read romeo and juliet again. this b ...more
Patricia
So this is like Romeo and Juliet in that they end up dead, but not like Romeo and Juliet in that there isn't any good fighting, or secret plans that go awry or feuding families or even a fun, bawdy nurse. It took a very long time for me to read to the end. Luckily, the play as performed is a bit more entertaining. But overall it is a Romeo and Juliet as played by boring politicians.
Addie
I can just imagine Bill going, "Hah! Who needs coherence? I'm Shakespeare!" Well, Bill, I need coherence. Leastaways, a little coherence. And when the reader's laughing during a suicide, you know there's something going on that you didn't intend. The only thing tragic about this is that I know you're capable of much, much better - you wrote Macbeth, after all.
The_Bookchemist
An incredible take on the power of politics and the many ways it can change a man, and on the definition of love, and of the actual existence of a definition for love.

Featured in my Top 5 Shakespearean Tragedies: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX6rxh...
Lija
If there were any more sexual references it would be recommended for people who enjoyed Fifty Shades.
Rebecca
Iridescent words 'n' alienating melodrama.
Kinda demonstrates the tedium of grandeur.

*votes R+J*
Mehak
Waking up at 2:45am with jet lag was no fun, so I decided to read, this was the only book in close vicinity so I started reading. The book was good, but wasn't my favorite, though I enjoyed it since Cleopatra is such a strong female character and most of William Shakespeare's female characters are not. The book also had a lot of fighting so I didn't enjoy that very much. I'm planning on doing some more research about the Roman Empire and Ancient Egypt. This book inspired me to take a look at his ...more
§--
Ugh. Boring. Slow. Maybe it's really cool to watch, but it's really tedious to read fifteen scenes in Acts III and IV, especially when we know (from history) how it ends. It felt like more of a history than a tragedy: 1) because the slowness of the play made it seem like Shakespeare was held down by the facts rather than freed (as in the mythological plays like King Lear); 2) because neither Antony nor Cleopatra ever seem "great" and therefore can't have much of a downfall; 3) because there's no ...more
Asya Fergiani
This was required reading for a World Literature class I took last year. It was a painful read with self-serving characters. As much as Shakespeare is an acclaimed writer, I found little to enjoy about this play mostly because I found Cleopatra and Antony contrived and ridiculously without common sense for the historical icons they are. Being that it was a play, I’m not sure how much historical accuracy would be required after all it was written to entertain. Antony, “O, whither hast thou led me ...more
Jessica-Robyn
Shakespeare really has a thing about having people commit suicide. In a play about war and love, the only on stage deaths are suicides. There are six in total. If that doesn't get your attention then I don't know what will!

Antony and Cleopatra is what happens when love and war collide in a spectacular division of loyalty. The desire to love and be loved verses the desire for honour and ultimate power. We're given two sides of the coin. In Egypt we have a world of luxury, excess, and two rulers p
...more
Ben
I wavered between giving this work a 4 and a 5. I am not a huge fan of the short, rapidly shifting scenes in Acts III and IV -- not your traditional Shakespeare in this sense. The scenes are short, changing back and forth between Rome and Alexandria, and the dialogue within each scene is brief. Perhaps seeing the play staged would make it easier for me to deal with this shortcoming -- then again, maybe not. Compared to other Shakespearean histories and tragedies, also, this was not my favorite w ...more
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Sumner F Period: Blog #18 1 3 May 13, 2014 08:13AM  
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947
William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been tr ...more
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Romeo and Juliet Hamlet Macbeth A Midsummer Night's Dream Othello

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“The breaking of so great a thing should make
A greater crack: the round world
Should have shook lions into civil streets,
And citizens to their dens.”
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“In time we hate that which we often fear.” 563 likes
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