Margaret Drabble listed Antony and Cleopatra in her Top Ten.
I’ll be honest. I wasn’t very fond of this one. For some reason, it just…didn’t hit with me.
This takes place a few years after the play Julius Caesar (which I didn’t read, maybe if I had read that one first, I would have liked this one better). Basically, the power of Rome has been divided into three. Antony, one of the 3, has been living the last few years in the arms of Cleopatra, while his wife remains in Rome. Then she dies. And the play begins.
And here’s where I spent a lot of time…not paying a lot of attention. So basically, the play goes on and on and on. Some things I’ve discovered, I will mention briefly below.
1. No one ever seems to ban Shakespeare. Yet, some of his plays, like this one, are highly sexualized. I had this thought over and over while reading it. Do they not get upset about it, because they can’t understand it? I mean, obviously, I have strong issues with book banning, so I’d like to think that this was it. I mean, it insults the intelligence of those that want books banned. So, I’m going to keep that theory. But, seriously? Why??? I mean Shakespeare is like your dirty old uncle who tells ribald jokes from behind his hand at Thanksgiving dinner!
2. Either suicide was really popular back in his time, or it was a very thrilling way to end a play. This one also ends in tragedy. (Stop reading now if you’d rather not see any spoilers)
It’s tragic in that both Antony and Cleopatra commit suicide. The high point of the play for me was Antony’s inability to kill himself effectively. First, he attempts to get his servant to do it, his servant knifes himself instead. Then he tries to fall on his sword but doesn’t kill himself outright. So then he gets to have one last scene with Cleopatra, who shows yet again (like she does throughout the play) that she’s a selfish you-know-what. Antony dies and before Caesar can force her into returning to Rome and living out her days there as a trophy for him…Cleopatra gets a poisonous snake to bite her. Thus, ending her life.
I feel like I should be writing more here. And maybe it’s just a mental thing, or maybe it’s just that I truly did not enjoy this play at all…I just have nothing more.
You can comment and yell at me, if you disagree and loved this play. You can comment and yell at me, if you feel I should have said more. Or, I guess, if you’re having a bad day, you can just comment and yell at me 😛 Though I might ignore those.
Have a great weekend! I promise to have a longer and more cheery post next Thursday!