'Antony and Cleopatra' in Context

'Antony and Cleopatra' in Context

The Politics of Passion

By Keith Linley

Anthem Perspectives in Literature

Tragic love story or the downfall of a drunken fool and a ruthless schemer? How did Jacobeans see this play? This guide recovers the various contexts that situate ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ in its time, explains the Christian ethics, the contemporary political scene, the literary atmosphere and requirements of tragedy that inform its background.

Paperback, 266 Pages

ISBN:9781783083770

February 2015

£14.99, $24.95

  • About This Book
  • Reviews
  • Author Information
  • Series
  • Table of Contents
  • Links

About This Book

How would a Jacobean audience have assessed the story of these two classical celebrities? Are Antony and Cleopatra simply tragic lovers, or is the play a condemnation of poor male government derailed by passion for an unreliable, self-interested woman? This book provides detailed discussion of the various influences that a Jacobean audience would have brought to interpreting the play. How did people think about the world, God, sin, kings, civilized conduct? Historical, literary, political and sociological backgrounds are explained within the biblical-moral matrices by which the play would have been judged. This book links real life in the 1600s to the Roman world on the stage. Learn about the social hierarchy, gender relationships, court corruption, class tensions, the literary profile of the time, the concept of tragedy – and all the subversions, transgressions, and oppositions that made the play an unsettling picture of a disintegrating world lost through passion and machination.

Reviews

‘Those wishing to develop an insight into the contextual background from which the themes in the play developed need look no further. Although scholarly in approach, the guide avoids dry and confusing language, using an easy and informative style that will easily engage a range of readers. This guide will help students of Shakespeare manipulate themes and take a contextual overview, and will quickly become a resource for revision and essay practice. Whetting the appetite for further reading, it uses cross reference to other plays to develop an appreciation of Shakespeare’s other works and mind-set. This dynamic, contextual guide will surely become an essential study companion for students and teachers alike.’ —Jill Leese, secondary English teacher and team leader with leading UK examinations board

Author Information

Dr Keith Linley is an academic, educator and experienced A-level examiner. He has taught English at both secondary and post-secondary levels.

Series

Anthem Perspectives in Literature

Table of Contents

Introduction; Prologue; 1. The Historical Context; 2. The Elizabethan World Order: From Divinity to Dust; 3. Sin, Death and the Prince of Darkness; 4. The Seven Cardinal Virtues; 5. Kingship; 6. Patriarchy, Family and Gender Relationships; 7. Man in His Place; 8. Images of Disorder: The Religious Context ; 9. The Context of Tragedy; 10. ‘O’erflowing the Measure’: Restraint and Excess; 11. Infinite Variety: Isis or Strumpet?; 12. Rome versus Egypt: Gendering the State; 13. Literary Context; 14. Political Context; Notes; Bibliography; Index

Links

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