The Masks of Anthony and Cleopatra

By Marvin Rosenberg; Mary Rosenberg | Go to book overview

Anthony

The Anthony who now enters with Cleopatra is simply, as Michael Goldman has noted, the greatest man in the world. He is also the greatest warrior. Everybody knows it. His rivals to the status, Caesar and Pompey, know it. His soldiers know it. The Egyptians know it. And very importantly, he himself knows it.

He will not be boasting when he says things like

                            I, that with my sword
Quartered the world

I lived the greatest prince o’th world

He did, he was. Surely he must seem so.

I am calling him Anthony, as Shakespeare did in the surviving Folio text. Later editors wanted him consistent with the sharper Mark Antony of Julius Caesar; but this is a deeper, more mature character, more inward, more vulnerable. When his name is chanted by the grieving man who deserts him, and by the woman who loves him, the softer sound will bear the image that, I think, the playwright wanted. Try both names.

I have observed that Anthony is now at the height of his power. He has conquered the eastern Mediterranean: Cleopatra gives him his due—“the greatest soldier of the world.” Pompey, comparing him to his ally-rivals Octavius and Lepidus, insists Anthony’s soldiership “Is twice the other twain.”

What is equally—almost more—important, Anthony, entering, is not only almost universally respected and admired; he is equally loved. Shakespeare leaves out from the translated Plutarch the negatives on Anthony to concentrate on the positives, especially on the rich gift of offering and sharing personal warmth and wealth:

Things that seem intolerable in other men, as to boast commonly, to jest with one
or other, … to sit with the soldiers when they dine, and to eat and drink with
them soldierlike: it is incredible what wonderful love it won him amongst them.
And furthermore, being given to love: that made him the more desired, and by that
means he brought many to love him. For he would further every man’s love, and also
would not be angry that men should merrily tell him of those he loved. But besides

-70-

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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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