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Antony and Cleopatra (Folger Shakespeare Library) Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

William Shakespeare was born in April 1564 in the town of Stratford-upon-Avon, on England’s Avon River. When he was eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway. The couple had three children—an older daughter Susanna and twins, Judith and Hamnet. Hamnet, Shakespeare’s only son, died in childhood. The bulk of Shakespeare’s working life was spent in the theater world of London, where he established himself professionally by the early 1590s. He enjoyed success not only as a playwright and poet, but also as an actor and shareholder in an acting company. Although some think that sometime between 1610 and 1613 Shakespeare retired from the theater and returned home to Stratford, where he died in 1616, others believe that he may have continued to work in London until close to his death.

Barbara A. Mowat is Director of Research emerita at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Consulting Editor of Shakespeare Quarterly, and author of The Dramaturgy of Shakespeare’s Romances and of essays on Shakespeare’s plays and their editing.

Paul Werstine is Professor of English at the Graduate School and at King’s University College at Western University. He is a general editor of the New Variorum Shakespeare and author of Early Modern Playhouse Manuscripts and the Editing of Shakespeare and of many papers and articles on the printing and editing of Shakespeare’s plays.
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Product Details

  • Series: Folger Shakespeare Library
  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; annotated edition edition (January 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743482859
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743482851
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,089 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in April 1564, and his birth is traditionally celebrated on April 23. The facts of his life, known from surviving documents, are sparse. He was one of eight children born to John Shakespeare, a merchant of some standing in his community. William probably went to the King's New School in Stratford, but he had no university education. In November 1582, at the age of eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway, eight years his senior, who was pregnant with their first child, Susanna. She was born on May 26, 1583. Twins, a boy, Hamnet ( who would die at age eleven), and a girl, Judith, were born in 1585. By 1592 Shakespeare had gone to London working as an actor and already known as a playwright. A rival dramatist, Robert Greene, referred to him as "an upstart crow, beautified with our feathers." Shakespeare became a principal shareholder and playwright of the successful acting troupe, the Lord Chamberlain's Men (later under James I, called the King's Men). In 1599 the Lord Chamberlain's Men built and occupied the Globe Theater in Southwark near the Thames River. Here many of Shakespeare's plays were performed by the most famous actors of his time, including Richard Burbage, Will Kempe, and Robert Armin. In addition to his 37 plays, Shakespeare had a hand in others, including Sir Thomas More and The Two Noble Kinsmen, and he wrote poems, including Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. His 154 sonnets were published, probably without his authorization, in 1609. In 1611 or 1612 he gave up his lodgings in London and devoted more and more time to retirement in Stratford, though he continued writing such plays as The Tempest and Henry VII until about 1613. He died on April 23 1616, and was buried in Holy Trinity Church, Stratford. No collected edition of his plays was published during his life-time, but in 1623 two members of his acting company, John Heminges and Henry Condell, put together the great collection now called the First Folio.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Arrangement of notes and text the best. Good intro. Interpretive essay clear & helpful. The edition I use for my classes with seniors.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
In the history of femme fatales, Cleopatra is still the queen -- she wasn't pretty, but she had charm, wit and power.

And she's the center of Shakespeare's "Antony and Cleopatra," a play that follows the tragic affair between Cleopatra and her second high-profile Roman lover. The tragedy is undermined by the fact that Cleopatra and Antony aren't very likable people, but the story does have an empire-ending grandeur.

Mark Antony has been neglecting his duties as a Roman soldier ever since he fell in love with the Egyptian queen Cleopatra. But eventually Octavian calls him back to Rome, and Antony is even pressured into marrying Octavia's sister -- which unsurprisingly throws a wrench into his relationship with Cleopatra. She's only soothed by the assurances that Octavia is ugly.

In the meantime, tensions between the Romans and the increasingly Egyptophilic Antony are getting worse, until finally they break into full-out war -- despite the prophecy that Antony will lose if he fights Octavian. And the tempestuous love between Cleopatra and Antony takes a terrible turn as Egypt is about to fall...

"Antony and Cleopatra" is sort of a sequel to "Julius Caesar," and it's also half epic romance and half tragedy. On one hand, it's all about the passionate, stormy love affair between Antony and Cleopatra; on the other, it's also about the final crash of an empire that had endured for thousands of years, and its last monarch.

Shakespeare manages to fill the story with a sense of epic grandeur, and his writing really gets across that these conflicts and people are deeply important.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Nicely presented simple text. The illustrations add a nice ambiance, No annotations, so while perhaps some of the archaisms are going to be more difficult to understand, at least there is little in the way of distractions.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Shakespeare's "Antony and Cleopatra" leaves the domestic sphere of the earlier tragedies and enters into a world of vast Spenglerian vistas as one culture, weighed down by its decadence, declines and another, elevated by its coldness and amorality, replaces it. A meditation on the tragic nature of history, it is a very political play (written just prior to "Coriolanus," Shakespeare's most political play). It takes into account our nobility but realizes that it is easy prey (the scenes with Ventidius, Pompey and Menas, and Antony and the Soothsayer are hauntingly and tragically illustrative). The play contains a very large cast of characters, all of them memorable and very well individualized. Psychologically, it is perhaps the work most emblematic of the author's unparalleled genius for creating characters who give the illusion of being full human beings. The star role belongs to Cleopatra, who should be for the actress what Hamlet is for the actor - the most challenging and rewarding of roles. It rightly vies with the other high tragedies as one of Shakespeare's greatest works.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Like with all Shakespeare plays, you must red and re-read this to capture the abundance of meaning and insight into love and public image. It goes more into the nature of romantic love and attraction than Romeo & Juliet and thus probes deep into our famous and not-so-popular relationships amidst the upheavals of our times.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Don't get the kindle version. The last two acts were missing. I didn't discover this until I was in the middle of the class and couldn't read my part. Horrors! But the play is quite entertaining.
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