Antony and Cleopatra

by William Shakespeare


Antony and Cleopatra (First Folio title: The Tragedie of Anthonie, and Cleopatra) is a tragedy by William Shakespeare. The play was first performed, by the King's Men, at either the Blackfriars Theatre or the Globe Theatre in around 1607; its first appearance in print was in the Folio of 1623. 
The plot is based on Thomas North's 1579 English translation of Plutarch's Lives and follows the relationship between Cleopatra and Mark Antony from the time of the Sicilian revolt to Cleopatra's suicide during the War of Actium. The main antagonist is Octavius Caesar, one of Antony's fellow triumvirs of the Second Triumvirate and the first emperor of the Roman Empire. The tragedy is mainly set in the Roman Republic and Ptolemaic Egypt and is characterized by swift shifts in geographical location and linguistic register as it alternates between sensual, imaginative Alexandria and a more pragmatic, austere Rome. 
Many consider Shakespeare's Cleopatra, whom Enobarbus describes as having "infinite variety", as one of the most complex and fully developed female characters in the playwright's body of work.  She is frequently vain and histrionic enough to provoke an audience almost to scorn; at the same time, Shakespeare invests her and Antony with tragic grandeur. These contradictory features have led to famously divided critical responses. It is difficult to classify Antony and Cleopatra as belonging to a single genre. It can be described as a history play, as a tragedy, as a comedy, as a romance, and according to some critics, such as McCarter, a problem play. All that can be said with certainty is that it is a Roman play, and perhaps even a sequel to another of Shakespeare's tragedies, Julius Caesar.
Excerpted from Antony and Cleopatra on Wikipedia.

person AuthorWilliam Shakespeare
language CountryEngland
api GenreDrama, Tragedy, Romance
copyright CopyrightPublic domain worldwide.
camera_alt Book cover-
book_online EbooksProject Gutenberg
description ScansGoogle-digitized
headphones AudioThanks to Librivox | Internet Archive:
Reader: Group, Dramatic Readings
00 01 02 03 04 05
auto_stories Read onlineHTML version