By Sara Munson Deats
Complementing different volumes within the Shakespeare feedback sequence, this number of twenty unique essays will extend the severe contexts within which Antony and Cleopatra may be loved as either literature and theater. The essays will hide a large spectrum of themes and make the most of a range of scholarly methodologies, together with textual and performance-oriented techniques, intertextual experiences, in addition to feminist, psychoanalytical, Marxist, and postcolonial inquiries. the quantity also will characteristic an intensive advent via the editor surveying the under-examined functionality heritage and demanding trends/legacy of this complicated play. participants contain sought after Shakespeare students David Bevington, Dympna Callaghan, Leeds Barroll, David Fuller, Dorothea Kehler, and Linda Woodbridge.
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Additional info for Antony and Cleopatra: New Critical Essays (Shakespeare Criticism)
What Siddons might have done with the role of Cleopatra had she “played the part as it should be played,” one can only surmise, but Faucit generated little enthusiasm, with Hazlitt criticizing her for displaying “the affected levity of the modern ﬁne lady” (Morning Chronicle; qtd. in Madelaine 36). Unremarkable in its performances, Kemble’s pastiche is remembered primarily for its antiquarian focus and Egyptian motifs, which led to a vogue for Egyptian as well as Greek and Roman accoutrement in the neoclassical stagings of the play.
Speaking for this view, Hazlitt (1817) disparages Antony’s “effeminate character,” which results in “his headstrong presumption and infatuated determination to yield to Cleopatra’s wishes to ﬁght by sea instead of land,” an irrational action that, according to Hazlitt, ultimately brings a merited punishment (63). More censorious, Gervinus (1849–50) reduces Antony to a “splendid nothingness” with only “seeming greatness and seeming nobleness” (741), a man who, in subordinating himself to a woman, “becomes a woman” (730).
Grifﬁth (1775), one of Octavius’s earliest detractors, establishes the foil relationship that has dominated criticism of the play, presenting Antony as not only a braver but a better man than his competitor for empire, whom she demeans as worthless, mean, jealous, and vengeful. Schelgel (1809–11) develops this comparison, asserting that “the open and lavish character of Antony is admirably contrasted with the heartless littleness of Octavius” (417), while Waith (“Manhood and Valor,” 1950) rejects Octavius as a Machiavellian schemer, who compares unfavorably to the passionate, magnanimous Antony, and whose clever egotism alienates the sympathies of the audience.
Antony and Cleopatra: New Critical Essays (Shakespeare Criticism) by Sara Munson Deats