Reading Antony and Cleopatra is particularly challenging because of Shakespeare's masterful embodiment of Rome and Egypt's contrasting worlds in language, structure, and characterization. Instead of seeing the interaction of Roman and Egyptian perspectives in Antony and Cleopatra as a type of double image of reality that changes as one moves from one location to another, students often find themselves compelled to pick sides. The more romantic opt for Cleopatra as the most sympathetic character, while the pragmatists dismiss her lifestyle as self-indulgent. The central challenge in reading this play, in other words, is to resist the compulsion to take sides and, instead, to adopt a 'both-and' point of view rather than an 'either-or' choice. The play's central binary - Rome vs. Egypt - is deeply embedded in its language and structure, yet the play consistently complicates our view of either side. The book encourages students to think outside the binary box, to understand, and to celebrate, Shakespeare's exploitation of the multivalent nature of language.
Professor Virginia Vaughan is teaches at Clark University, Worcester, MA, USA. She is a leading international expert on The Tempest, and co-editor of the Arden Third Series edition of the play.
Introduction; Language in Print; Writing Matters; Language: Forms and Uses; Writing Matters; Language Through Time; Writing Matters; Writing Skills;Further Reading
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- ID: 9781408184516
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