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

By Sara Munson Deats

Complementing different volumes within the Shakespeare feedback sequence, this selection of twenty unique essays will extend the severe contexts within which Antony and Cleopatra will be loved as either literature and theater. The essays will hide a large spectrum of issues and make the most of a variety of scholarly methodologies, together with textual and performance-oriented methods, intertextual stories, in addition to feminist, psychoanalytical, Marxist, and postcolonial inquiries. the quantity also will function an in depth creation by means of the editor surveying the under-examined functionality background and demanding trends/legacy of this complicated play. individuals contain in demand Shakespeare students David Bevington, Dympna Callaghan, Leeds Barroll, David Fuller, Dorothea Kehler, and Linda Woodbridge.

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Of course, critical trends never adhere rigidly to chronological timetables; however, certain periods do favor certain distinct approaches. Thus, although both essentialist readings and realistic questions of motivation continue until today, in the 1970s and 1980s, with the emergence of new critical methodologies—feminist, Marxist, new historicist, postcolonial—analysts began to pose different questions. One of the most important issues to surface in the 1970s concerned Cleopatra’s role as tragic protagonist of the play that bears her name.

Thus, Barroll presents Antony as a figure for whom we feel both sympathy and 28 Antony and Cleopatra disapproval, “one of Shakespeare’s most complexly imagined tragic heroes” (83). In his essay in this volume, Barroll examines the image clusters surrounding both Antony and Cleopatra to explore further the complexity of our response to these multifaceted characters. But, of course, Antony, like Cleopatra, has also enlisted ardent champions. Throughout the centuries, Antony’s famed magnanimity has provided a mantra for romantic apologists, who have waxed eloquent in praise of the generosity, bounty, and royalty of this mighty general.

Finally, Carol Cook (1996) delineates Cleopatra as a synecdoche not only for the theater but also for the feminine in language. In the 1970s and 1980s, another important critical methodology, psychoanalytical theory, offered new perspectives on Shakespeare’s elusive queen. 24 Antony and Cleopatra Employing this approach, Constance Brown Kuriyama (1977) interprets the play as a richly elaborated rendering of a basic human illusion, the union with the incestuously loved, bisexual mother in a particular kind of Oedipal fantasy.

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