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Antony and Cleopatra

Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare
By: (1654-1616)

Antony and Cleopatra is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written sometime between 1603 and 1607. It was first printed in the First Folio of 1623. The plot is based on Thomas North's translation of Plutarch's Life of Marcus Antonius and follows the relationship between Cleopatra and Mark Antony from the time of the Parthian War to Cleopatra's suicide. The major antagonist is Octavius Caesar, one of Antony's fellow triumviri and the future first emperor of Rome. The tragedy is a Roman play characterized by swift, panoramic shifts in geographical locations and in registers, alternating between sensual, imaginative Alexandria and the more pragmatic, austere Rome.

First Page:

SCENE: The Roman Empire

ACT I. SCENE I. Alexandria. CLEOPATRA'S palace


PHILO. Nay, but this dotage of our general's O'erflows the measure. Those his goodly eyes, That o'er the files and musters of the war Have glow'd like plated Mars, now bend, now turn, The office and devotion of their view Upon a tawny front. His captain's heart, Which in the scuffles of great fights hath burst The buckles on his breast, reneges all temper, And is become the bellows and the fan To cool a gipsy's lust.

Flourish. Enter ANTONY, CLEOPATRA, her LADIES, the train, with eunuchs fanning her

Look where they come! Take but good note, and you shall see in him The triple pillar of the world transform'd Into a strumpet's fool. Behold and see. CLEOPATRA. If it be love indeed, tell me how much. ANTONY. There's beggary in the love that can be reckon'd. CLEOPATRA. I'll set a bourn how far to be belov'd. ANTONY. Then must thou needs find out new heaven, new earth... Continue reading book >>

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