Antony and Cleopatra - Critical Quotes

Derek Traversi - What is the play?
'a tragedy of lyrical inspiration, or... a remorseless exposure of human frailties'
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William Hazlitt - Poetry
'he made the poetry the organ of history'
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William Hazlitt - Cleopatra
'the character of Cleopatra is a masterpiece'
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G. Wilson Knight - Cleopatra
'[Shakespeare's] most amazing and dazzling single personification'
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Victor Kiernan - Marxist view
'All power and greatness are an artificial pageant'
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John F. Danby - Antony
'For the tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra is, above all, the tragedy of Antony. The opposites play through Antony and play with him, and finally destroy him'
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Linda Bamber - Antony
'Antony anatomizes himself for us... he is, or tries to be, sincire; he struggles to know himself'
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W.H.Auden - Characters
'Every day we can get an obsession about people we don't like but for various reasons can't leave. All human traits are portrayed somewhere by the multiplicity of characters in the play'
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W.H.Auden - Cleopatra
'her commentary is always (at least in part) a performance. Cleopatra never comments on herself with disapproval, never shares with us the slightest dissatisfaction in herself...there are no openings through which we can have at her innermost soul'
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Phyllis Rackin- Cleopatra
'she is a contriver of shows, mostly for Antony's benefit, but he is by no means her only audience. The death of Cleopatra is in fact a double triumph of showmanship - hers and her creator's'
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Edward Dowden - Cleopatra
'the ideal of sensual attractiveness'
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Linda Fitz - Cleopatra (Feminist)
'male critics feel personally threatened by Cleopatra and what she represents to them'
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Dr Barrie Saywood - Antony
Antony moves 'ever more rapidly into disintegration'
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William Hazlitt - Enobarbus
'The repentence of the most affecting part of the play'
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Charney - Enobarbus
Departure of Hercules and Enobarbus = linked, 'gives his desertion a mythological compulsion'
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Woodbridge - Caesar
'unsympathetic, rank misogynist'
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Kalmay - how Elizabethans saw Caesar
'a tyrant who fuelled the fires of civil war to further his own ambitions'
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Charnes - Antony
'Antony is driven by a desire to weave together the two parts of himself...but he finds this impossible' (LINK TO MASHALL'S THEORY OF 'IMPERILLED IDENTITY')
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Tennenhouse - Effect of Cleopatra's death
With Cleopatra's death, Shakespeare 'purges the world of all that is not Roman'
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Jonathan Bate
'Shakespeare's most luxuriant tragedy' 'structured upon a series of oppositions' 'Shakespeare's drama of dotage'
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Jonathan Bate - Politicians
'It is the particular occasion, the single word, the moment of tenderness or jest, that humanises the superpower politicians'
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Germaine Greer
'One of the most important things about Shakespeare is that he’s not trying to say anything. He’s not trying to tell you how to think. What he’s saying to you is think'
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Card 2


William Hazlitt - Poetry


'he made the poetry the organ of history'

Card 3


William Hazlitt - Cleopatra


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


G. Wilson Knight - Cleopatra


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


Victor Kiernan - Marxist view


Preview of the front of card 5
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