Categorization: Classic, Play, Shakespeare, Tragedy
Length: 352 pages
The tragedy of Antony & Cleopatra is one of my favorite works by William Shakespeare, which is not something you hear very often.
As a history nerd, both the setting and the main characters appeal to me. But as this is a Shakespeare play, not a scholarly historical fiction novel, my enjoyment comes from the drama which ensues.
The tragedy of Anthony and Cleopatra is extremely appropriate for the world we live in today, where people are very much so focused on themselves.
Kathy Darrow, author of Shakespeare for Students, says of the play:
“It is regarded by many as a problem play, presenting as it does the ambiguity and ambivalence of life without providing clear or comfortable answers”
Scholars disagree about what the tragedy of this play actually is, and also, whom it involves. After reading several antithetical theories, I find that one thing is clear: The tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra is not one shared tragedy of star-crossed lovers, such as Romeo and Juliet as many have speculated, because Antony and Cleopatra are not true romantic lovers.
Each falls separately as a result of his or her own self-serving actions and, ultimately, each takes his or her own life for individual reasons. What Antony and Cleopatra share is not love, but the same tragic flaw, pride.