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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Edition, 10 Oct. 2012
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This review is from: Antony and Cleopatra (The RSC Shakespeare) (Paperback)
The RSC edition of Antony and Cleopatra is fantastically presented and includes some great additional features such as the director interviews and the brief summary of each scene. This is perfect for studying the text or just generally understanding the play better.
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5.0 out of 5 stars review of the book, 13 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: Antony and Cleopatra (The RSC Shakespeare) (Paperback)
The RSC edition of Antony and Cleopatra is very useful as it has detail notes that will help with lessons
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5.0 out of 5 stars Antony and Cleopatra, 1 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: Antony and Cleopatra (The RSC Shakespeare) (Paperback)
Very good condition book, thank you so much, very fast delivery, no problems whatsoever
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 19 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: Antony and Cleopatra (The RSC Shakespeare) (Paperback)
Wonderful, just wonderful
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All for Love?, 30 Sept. 2001
By A Customer
This play is the ultimate love story- yet more than a love story. The world Shakespeare's lovers inhabit is a political world and they are political animals, often adapt at statecraft, sometimes failing to keep pace with the moves of other players across a vast imperial board on which the representatives of Rome and Egypt, World and Flesh play for the highest stakes towards a deadly endgame.
'The triple pillar of the world transformed / Into a strumpet's fool. Behold and see', demands Philo in the opening scene. Shakespeare's audience shares the invitation, witnessing the protagonists interrupted by a Roman messenger. Antony's response, 'Let Rome into Tiber melt and the wide arch / Of the ranged empire fall! Here is my space', is a passionate refutation of Roman politics in favour of the sexual satisfactions of Egypt. His speech enhances the play's reputation as a love story but is immediately qualified by Cleopatra's cry of 'Excellent falsehood!' warning both Antony and the audience against simplistic judgment. This first scene introduces the protagonists not in some elaborate set-piece but within an intimate fragment, a mere sixty-two lines, suggesting that throughout this play personal lives have fundamental political implications.
Not only do imperial politics spice the relationship of Antony and Cleopatra but their affair in a key factor in the conflict between the factions that threaten to weaken Rome. It is to the advantage of Pompey, Caesar's rival for supreme power, that Antony remains in Egypt: 'But all the charms of love, / Salt Cleopatra, soften thy waned lip! /.... / Tie up the libertine in a field of feasts'. Caesar's plans depend on Antony's presence in Rome, the heart of empire to which he returns following Fulvia's death. The audience witnesses the confrontation of Caesar and Antony, recognizing their political relationship to harbour the potential to explode into a fight beneficial to Pompey alone. Political manoeuvres continue as Caesar pawns his sister, Octavia, 'To join our kingdoms and our hearts'. The marriage of Antony and Octavia, while repatterning the themes of politics and love, is overshadowed by the sexy silhouette of Egypt's queen with whom Antony is swiftly reunited.
Although Antony defines his relationship with Cleopatra in opposition to the imperial machine, the most sensuous scenes reveal their roles in the world of political contingency. That politics is imbued with sexuality is evident when Antony is defeated by Caesar at Actium. His subsequent confrontation with Cleopatra has obvious phallic connotations as he blames their union for his military impotence: 'You did know / How much you were my conqueror, and that / My sword, made weak by my affection, would / Obey it on all cause'. Antony's desire to re-establish his potency on every front elicits his later challenge to Caesar's military prowess: 'If from the field I shall return once more / To kiss these lips, I will appear in blood'. It is their mutual attraction to power that lies at the heart of the relationship of Antony and Cleopatra yet, as in many a political affiliation, one side never quite trusts the other. Antony's downfall convinces him of Cleopatra's treachery, that she is a 'Triple-turned whore', a woman who was the lover of Pompey's father and Julius Caesar, and who would look towards the younger 'blossoming Caesar' should the moment prove opportune. The suicide of Antony results from his political need to recover honour in the face of Caesar's victory but it is this same political heroism that he requires to feel worthy of Cleopatra's desire. Vowing that 'Dido and her Aeneas shall want troops / And all the haunt be ours', he promises the queen-- 'Egypt'-- supremacy in the next world as not in this. An equivalent power-lust determines the tone of Cleopatra's sexually-charged mourning for her lover, her dreams of Antony as a Herculean ruler, a fantastical impossibility emphasized by the entry of pragmatic Caesar. The protagonists are both lovers and lover of power and this makes them doubly vulnerable. Cleopatra's suicide is as much for fear of political annihilation as it is for love of Antony. In the words of Caesar, 'She leveled at our purposes, and being royal / Took her own way' in the final and shrewdest manoeuvre in the play.
Rome conquers Egypt, Flesh lies crushed by the World, but the suicides of Antony and Cleopatra in no way indicate that the World is well lost for love. The crux of the matter is not a tense antithesis of politics and love, but the unifying likeness of sexuality and the workings of power. Shakespeare compels his audience to acknowledge that the conduct of empire and political future of all the major players have been wagered on the love of Antony and Cleopatra. The dramatist forces the audience to recognize not only the political context of their sexuality but that personal issues always underlie public action, that 'things outward / Do draw the inward quality after them / To suffer all alike'.
In one of the most glorious speeches of the play, Enobarbus recounts how Cleopatra 'pursed up' Antony's heart: 'Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale / Her infinite variety'. Theatergoers and readers alike may wish to invest in "Cleopatra: Histories, Dreams and Distortions" in which Lucy Hughes-Hallett traces this intriguing figure from her beginnings as Kleopatra VII Thea Philopator to the camp queen of "Carry On Cleo".
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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All for Love, 30 Sept. 2001
By A Customer
This play is the ultimate love story- yet more than a love story. The world Shakespeare's lovers inhabit is a political world and they are political animals, often adapt at statecraft, sometimes failing to keep pace with the moves of other players across a vast imperial board on which the representatives of Rome and Egypt, World and Flesh play for the highest stakes towards a deadly endgame.
'The triple pillar of the world transformed / Into a strumpet's fool. Behold and see', demands Philo in the opening scene. Shakespeare's audience shares the invitation, witnessing the protagonists interrupted by a Roman messenger. Antony's response, 'Let Rome into Tiber melt and the wide arch / Of the ranged empire fall! Here is my space', is a passionate refutation of Roman politics in favour of the sexual satisfactions of Egypt. His speech enhances the play's reputation as a love story but is immediately qualified by Cleopatra's cry of 'Excellent falsehood!' warning both Antony and the audience against simplistic judgment. This first scene introduces the protagonists not in some elaborate set-piece but within an intimate fragment, a mere sixty-two lines, suggesting that throughout this play personal lives have fundamental political implications.
Not only do imperial politics spice the relationship of Antony and Cleopatra but their affair in a key factor in the conflict between the factions that threaten to weaken Rome. It is to the advantage of Pompey, Caesar's rival for supreme power, that Antony remains in Egypt: 'But all the charms of love, / Salt Cleopatra, soften thy waned lip! /.... / Tie up the libertine in a field of feasts'. Caesar's plans depend on Antony's presence in Rome, the heart of empire to which he returns following Fulvia's death. The audience witnesses the confrontation of Caesar and Antony, recognizing their political relationship to harbour the potential to explode into a fight beneficial to Pompey alone. Political manoeuvres continue as Caesar pawns his sister, Octavia, 'To join our kingdoms and our hearts'. The marriage of Antony and Octavia, while repatterning the themes of politics and love, is overshadowed by the sexy silhouette of Egypt's queen with whom Antony is swiftly reunited.
Although Antony defines his relationship with Cleopatra in opposition to the imperial machine, the most sensuous scenes reveal their roles in the world of political contingency. That politics is imbued with sexuality is evident when Antony is defeated by Caesar at Actium. His subsequent confrontation with Cleopatra has obvious phallic connotations as he blames their union for his military impotence: 'You did know / How much you were my conqueror, and that / My sword, made weak by my affection, would / Obey it on all cause'. Antony's desire to re-establish his potency on every front elicits his later challenge to Caesar's military prowess: 'If from the field I shall return once more / To kiss these lips, I will appear in blood'. It is their mutual attraction to power that lies at the heart of the relationship of Antony and Cleopatra yet, as in many a political affiliation, one side never quite trusts the other. Antony's downfall convinces him of Cleopatra's treachery, that she is a 'Triple-turned whore', a woman who was the lover of Pompey's father and Julius Caesar, and who would look towards the younger 'blossoming Caesar' should the moment prove opportune. The suicide of Antony results from his political need to recover honour in the face of Caesar's victory but it is this same political heroism that he requires to feel worthy of Cleopatra's desire. Vowing that 'Dido and her Aeneas shall want troops / And all the haunt be ours', he promises the queen-- 'Egypt'-- supremacy in the next world as not in this. An equivalent power-lust determines the tone of Cleopatra's sexually-charged mourning for her lover, her dreams of Antony as a Herculean ruler, a fantastical impossibility emphasized by the entry of pragmatic Caesar. The protagonists are both lovers and lover of power and this makes them doubly vulnerable. Cleopatra's suicide is as much for fear of political annihilation as it is for love of Antony. In the words of Caesar, 'She leveled at our purposes, and being royal / Took her own way' in the final and shrewdest manoeuvre in the play.
Rome conquers Egypt, Flesh lies crushed by the World, but the suicides of Antony and Cleopatra in no way indicate that the World is well lost for love. The crux of the matter is not a tense antithesis of politics and love, but the unifying likeness of sexuality and the workings of power. Shakespeare compels his audience to acknowledge that the conduct of empire and political future of all the major players have been wagered on the love of Antony and Cleopatra. The dramatist forces the audience to recognize not only the political context of their sexuality but that personal issues always underlie public action, that 'things outward / Do draw the inward quality after them / To suffer all alike'.
In one of the most glorious speeches of the play, Enobarbus recounts how Cleopatra 'pursed up' Antony's heart: 'Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale / Her infinite variety'. Theatergoers and readers alike may wish to invest in "Cleopatra: Histories, Dreams and Distortions" in which Lucy Hughes-Hallett traces this intriguing figure from her beginnings as Kleopatra VII Thea Philopator to the camp queen of "Carry On Cleo".
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Antony and Cleopatra (The RSC Shakespeare)
Antony and Cleopatra (The RSC Shakespeare) by William Shakespeare (Paperback - 23 April 2009)
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