The Masks of Anthony and Cleopatra

By Marvin Rosenberg; Mary Rosenberg | Go to book overview

Preface

The Masks of Anthony and Cleopatra occupied Marvin’s imagination for the last five or six years of his life, and he was writing and thinking about it—as well as teaching a freshman seminar on it—in the months immediately preceding his death in February 2003. He was in love with the play and its two main characters: and he delighted in the splendid, impassioned language—some of Shakespeare’s finest, he believed. At the time of his death he had completed the first draft of this book up to the end of act 5, scene 1. He talked at length to me, to his friends and colleagues, to his student research assistant, John Dravinski—to almost anyone who would listen, in fact!—about his interpretation of the final scene. He looked forward to writing about it.

After some hesitation, I decided that I was the person Marvin would most have wanted to finish the book for him: and I have done my best to complete the final section as I think he would have wished, using his few written notes and based on my own discussions with him and with John Dravinski. But, although the “I” statements there still express Marvin’s views, act 5, scene 2, alas, is not pure Rosenberg. At the end of act 5, scene 1, I was reminded of the words of Toscanini, conducting the world premiere of Puccini’s unfinished opera Turandot, two years after the composer’s death, when he laid down his baton shortly before the end of the final act, turned to the audience and announced: “Here the maestro put down his pen.”

We can never know exactly how satisfied Puccini—or Marvin—might have felt with the tacked-on endings to their work. But I hope Marvin would have been pleased.

At the end of my share of the writing, I felt that something was still missing: so I added a brief discussion on whether or not the play is a tragedy (and, if so, in what sense of the word), and a short note on the historical Cleopatra. These additions were mainly for my own interest, and they were certainly not in Marvin’s original plan.

When I first started to read Marvin’s manuscript to prepare it for completion and possible publication, I soon discovered that this is a different kind of book from the others in the Masks series.

Partly it is, as usual with Marvin, a painstaking and penetrating study, act by act, scene by scene, of the unfolding of Shakespeare’s play based on a close

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The Masks of Anthony and Cleopatra
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 7
  • Preface 9
  • Acknowledgments 17
  • Introduction 21
  • Act One 39
  • Act I, Scene I 41
  • Anthony 70
  • Cleopatra 80
  • Act I, Scene II 86
  • Act I, Scene III 104
  • Octavius 118
  • Act I, Scene IV 123
  • Act I, Scene V 133
  • Act Two 143
  • Act II, Scene I 145
  • Act II, Scene II 151
  • Act 2, Scene III 174
  • Act II, Scene IV 180
  • Act II, Scene V 181
  • Act 2, Scene VI 197
  • Act II, Scene VII 207
  • Act Three 225
  • Act III, Scene I 227
  • Act III, Scene II 231
  • Act III, Scene III 239
  • Act III, Scene IV 246
  • Act III, Scene V 251
  • Act III, Scene VI 254
  • Act III, Scene VII 262
  • Act III, Scenes VIII, IX, and X 272
  • Act III, Scene XI 278
  • Act III, Scene XII 288
  • Act III, Scene XIII 293
  • Act Four 315
  • Act IV, Scene I 317
  • Act IV, Scene II 320
  • Act IV, Scene III 326
  • Act IV, Scene IV 329
  • Act IV, Scene V 335
  • Act IV, Scene VI 337
  • Act IV, Scene VII 341
  • Act IV, Scene VIII 344
  • Act IV, Scene IX 349
  • Act IV, Scenes X, XI, XII, and XIII 352
  • Act IV, Scene XIV 362
  • Act IV, Scene XV 379
  • Act Five 393
  • Act V, Scene I 395
  • Act V, Scene II 403
  • Is Anthony and Cleopatra a Tragedy? 473
  • Epilogue 480
  • A Note on the Historical Cleopatra 69 Bc–30 BC 482
  • Critical and Theatrical Bibliographies 489
  • Critical Bibliography 491
  • Theatrical Bibliography 532
  • Index 597
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