By James F. Bellman, Kathryn Bellman
The limitation among middle, head, romance, and ambition has now not been advised with such attractiveness and intensity as in Shakespeare's play. With revelries of poetic love and the drudgery of tragedy, this drama of the Egyptian queen and the Roman army chief is absolutely a microcosm of existence.
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Extra info for Antony and Cleopatra (Cliffs Notes)
New York: Macmillan, 1948. WALKER, ROY. The Time Is Free. New York: Macmillan, 1949. WATKINS, RONALD. Moonlight at the Globe. London: Michael Joseph, 1946. SELECTED ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA BIBLIOGRAPHY CHARLTON, H. B. Shakespearean Tragedy. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1948. CRAIG, HARDIN. " An Interpretation of Shakespeare. Columbia, Missouri: Lucas Brothers, 1966. LEAVIS, F. R. The Common Pursuit. , 1963.
What was once a game for her now becomes a weapon and enables her to prolong her life long enough to defy Caesar himself. Caesar is the military victor, but the final scene suggests that he is ultimately no victor. He lacks something of the larger-than-life humanity of Antony and Cleopatra. Yet Shakespeare does not falsely idealize the lovers either. Their faults are visible to the end, but they do not overshadow the lovers' honor. If there is any ultimate character flaw in this play, it is one that all three of the main figures possess: lack of proportion.
Audiences, readers, and critics have always disagreed as to whether or not Antony made the right choice. Perceptions of the meaning of his actions will differ, but the end result is the same: Antony and Cleopatra is a powerful play because it has powerful characters who catch the imagination and never release it. They are lovers who are more mature than Romeo and Juliet and, for that reason, they are not easily forgotten. CLEOPATRA If an imaginary spectrum were constructed and if Octavius Caesar were placed at one end of the spectrum, Antony would waver, swaying and shifting in the middle, and Cleopatra would be found at the other end of the spectrum.