Antony and Cleopatra - Research Article from World Literature and Its Times

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by William Shakespeare

Scholars believe that Shakespeare wrote Antony and Cleopatra in late 1606 or early 1607, shortly after writing King Lear and Macbeth (also covered in WLAIT 3: British and Irish Literature and Its Times). Shakespeare, then in his early forties, had been a working playwright for about a decade and a half. The most ambitious of the three plays that the playwright based on Roman history (the other two being Coriolanus and Julius Caesar), Antony and Cleopatra spans a wider range of time and space than any of Shakespeare’s works, compressing 12 years into action that shifts rapidly among Egypt, Italy, Greece, and other sites in the Mediterranean world. Though set in these far-flung places, the play invokes a foundation myth of the British themselves. According to this myth, Rome’s founder, Aeneas, had a descendant, Brut or Brit (hence the name Britain), who led survivors...

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This section contains 5,190 words
(approx. 18 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Antony and Cleopatra Encyclopedia Article
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World Literature and Its Times
Antony and Cleopatra from World Literature and Its Times. ©2008 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.