His captain's heart,
Which in the scuffles of great fights hath burst
The buckles on his breast, reneges all temper
And is become the bellows and the fan
To cool a gipsy's lust.
Antony and Cleopatra seems to have a special place in Shakespeare's works because it is at a crossroad between two types of play. It clearly belongs to what are generally called the 'Roman' plays, along with Coriolanus and Julius Caesar. But it is also considered a tragedy. The importance of history in the play cannot be denied, especially where it is compared to Shakespeare's 'great' tragedies such as Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet. But one might wonder what is specifically tragic in Antony and Cleopatra, and what can be said about the tragic in a play which is so different from the other tragedies. It is clear that the notion of 'tragic' in the everyday sense is not necessarily the same as the notion of 'tragedy', which is a philosophical notion whose definition depends on which philosophic system one takes into account. In this article I shall take the term tragic in its literary and dramatic sense and try to define its main characteristics.
Taking into account a wide corpus of plays, from Antiquity as well as from France and England, we can detect several constant features that can define the tragic. A tragedy usually shows a character that is outstanding by his rank or/and inner abilities, falling into misfortune as a result of fate, and because of an error or a weakness for which he is not really responsible. Several tragic elements can be detected in Antony and Cleopatra. First, we find characters that have high rank because they are outstanding figures; we also see a tragic situation because from the be...
... middle of paper ...
...es. In fact the tragic might be more prominent in this hybrid play (both historical play and tragedy) Antony and Cleopatra, than it is in some of Shakespeare's 'great tragedies' such as Othello.
Angel-Perez, Elisabeth. 1997. Le théâtre Anglais. Paris: Hachette
Anouilh, Jean. 1946. Antigone, Paris: Editions de la Table Ronde
Biet, Christian. 1997. La tragédie. Paris: Armand Colin
Cuddon, J. A . 1992. The Penguin Dictionary Of Literary Terms And Literary Theory. Penguin USA
Racine, Jean. 1674. Préface of Iphigénie en Aulide. Editions l'Intégrale
Première Préface of Andromaque. Editions l'Intégrale
Préface of Phèdre. Editions l'Intégrale
Suhamy, Henri (directed by). 2000. Antony and Cleopatra. Paris: Ellipses
1. Article published in Antony and Cleopatra, directed by Henri Suhamy
The tragic in Antony and Cleopatra
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The tragic in Antony and Cleopatra His captain's heart, Which in the scuffles of great fights hath burst The buckles on his breast, reneges all temper And is become the bellows and the fan To cool a gipsy's lust. Antony and Cleopatra seems to have a special place in Shakespeare's works because it is at a crossroad between two types of play. It clearly belongs to what are generally called the 'Roman' plays, along with Coriolanus and Julius Caesar. But it is also considered a tragedy. The importance of history in the play cannot be denied, especially where it is compared to Shakespeare's 'great' tragedies such as Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet.... [tags: Shakespeare Tragedy Plays Papers]
3703 words (10.6 pages)
- The Love Story of Antony and Cleopatra The tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra can be said to have an overall effect of comical lightness. In this way, it is altogether different from the preceding tragedies, although the tragedy that leads to the death and destruction of Antony and Cleopatra is definitely a matter of choice rather than of circumstances that engulf the hero. Yet, ultimately their tragic ending differs greatly from the ominous feeling of those that preceded it. Antony and Cleopatra concerns itself with typically distressing and grave imagery, most importantly the theme of permanent loss.... [tags: Antony Cleopatra Essays]
1639 words (4.7 pages)
- Female Power, Maternity and Genderbending in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra The 19th century essayist and literary critic William Hazlitt wrote of Cleopatra, "She is voluptuous, ostentatious, conscious, boastful of her charms, haughty, tyrannical, [and] fickle," which are "great and unpardonable faults" (Hazlitt 2-3). Much of the criticism of Antony and Cleopatra has recycled this judgement, depicting Cleopatra as a villainess uses her eroticism and sexuality to motivate Antony to seek power.... [tags: Shakespeare Antony Cleopatra Essays]
3158 words (9 pages)
- In order to determine whether Antony is a tragic hero in Antony and Cleopatra, we must first define exactly what a tragic hero is, before being able to analyse whether Antony is portrayed as such. It is generally accepted that a tragic hero is a “man of noble stature”, who falls from a place grace, who exhibits many extraordinary qualities that set him apart from other men and who is a remarkable example of someone in his position. A key element of a tragic hero is that the audience must feel pity for the character’s death or downfall and there are several reasons both why the audience would feel pity for and why they wouldn’t feel pity for Antony upon his death.... [tags: Character Analysis]
1449 words (4.1 pages)
- ... There identify apart is found in the desperate desire to assert dominance as leaders in their own country and among followers. Anthony takes pride in the glory of military accomplishments and his former production of masculinity stemming from a primal nature. While Cleopatra’s selfishness is defined by her hypersexual nature and enchantment of Antony. This particular elevation of Cleopatra’s egocentrism happens after Antony’s death: Nay, ’tis most certain, Iras. Saucy lictors Will catch at us like strumpets, and scald rhymers Ballad us out o’ tune.... [tags: hypersexulaized, affair, suicide]
641 words (1.8 pages)
- Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare Antony and Cleopatra is a play in which the balance of power swings interestingly between two lovers. It is set in the First Century BC between Rome and Egypt. Antony is one of the three members of the second triumvirate who jointly rule the Roman Empire. Antony is the eponymous tragic hero, who allows his love for Cleopatra to cloud his judgement. According to Aristotle this is hamartia, an error of judgment caused by fate. This leads to his downfall.... [tags: Papers]
1197 words (3.4 pages)
- Tragic Love Antony and Cleopatra and Othello are two of many tragedies that Shakespeare crafted. They contain infamous couples that will do everything they can do be with their loved one, even if that means joining them in death. These two plays share elements of marriage or loving relationships that take the reader on journeys that begin with romance and end in tragedy created by manipulation of others. Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra and Othello expose the inevitable outcomes of a tragedy through jealousy, manipulation of others and craving power, combining and ultimately leading to the dramatic deaths of the lead characters.... [tags: Love, Othello, William Shakespeare]
2398 words (6.9 pages)
- Shakespeare’s Presentation of Rome and Egypt in Antony and Cleopatra As the title clearly suggests, Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra is based around the extraordinary relationship among two distinctive individuals, one a Roman general and the other an Egyptian queen. Along with Caesar who is also a Roman general, these entities dominate the play’s tragic storyline progression. However whilst Antony and Cleopatra centres around a provocative love affair, Shakespeare makes it evident that there is a good deal larger tensions involved, a collision course between two worlds.... [tags: Papers]
1171 words (3.3 pages)
- A Complete Cleopatra In the tragic play Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare comments, “What’s in a name. That which we call a rose / By any other word would smell as sweet” (2.1.85-86). A word can have many meanings depending on a person’s perspective. Cleopatra is a “rose” that has been depicted under many names. Throughout history numerous authors have sought to depict her character and their differing opinions have made her name one which resounds in very different ways. The Roman historian Plutarch created Cleopatra the political manipulator; John Dryden illustrated Cleopatra the ultimate sexual woman; George Bernard Shaw offered Cleopatra the uneducated impetuous young child-queen; and, Geo... [tags: Cleopatra Different Perspectives Essays]
1985 words (5.7 pages)
- Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra opens with a five-scene act, four of which takes place in Egypt and one in Rome. In the opening act of the play, the audience is introduced to several characters, some of which play a prominent role throughout the play and others that only appear in the opening act and remain anonymous to the audience in spite of their crucial theatrical function. The opening act provides a stir of varying tones and moods which allow the audience to be emotionally involved with the characters on stage.... [tags: Papers]
1692 words (4.8 pages)