The Masks of Anthony and Cleopatra

By Marvin Rosenberg; Mary Rosenberg | Go to book overview

Epilogue

I have tried to write the last section, on act 5, scene 2, as I thought Marvin would have wanted it and in his (assumed) first-person voice. Near the start, some of the actual words and phrases are his: but the bulk is mine, and I take full responsibility for any and all stupidities that readers may find there. The sections on “Is Anthony and Cleopatra a Tragedy?” and “A Note on the Historical Cleopatra” are entirely mine.

I have felt very close to Marvin as I wrote: sometimes almost as though he were dictating paragraphs to me or dropping ideas into my path. The experience has been very comforting—and stimulating. I have sometimes felt obliged to appeal to him, please, not to overload my mind with too many new Marvin-insights all at once!

The rest of the book is substantially as Marvin wrote it. Had he lived, he would—as with his other Masks books—have spent months adding new material and refining his presentation. Sadly he was not given time to revise. I have added bits and pieces (and footnotes) here and there, but I thought best simply to tidy what he had written rather than make any radical changes.

During the process of writing and editing, I happened to come across that same BBC program on TV about directing a Shakespeare play that Marvin had quoted in his Introduction (31–32): John Barton and Peter Hall of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford, England conducting a workshop with a cast of British and American actors and actresses. I was heartened to hear these two giant theatre professionals make various other points that supported Marvin’s long-held beliefs about Shakespearean staging and Shakespeare’s skill as a playwright.

First, both Hall and Barton spoke emphatically of the paramount importance of the text in the presentation of any Shakespeare play. Shakespeare’s process is one of “creating a world with words”; “the clues are in the text”; “the text is the bedrock to make [the play] work”; “there is not a word that is not significant”; Shakespeare wants audiences “to listen to every word,” to be absorbed in the language: and in the language is embedded both the story and the characterization—“There is no substitute for it.” Marvin wholeheartedly agreed: hence his detailed analysis, line by line, of the text of this play.

Beyond that, echoing Marvin’s frequent illustrations of the oxymoronic structure of plot, language, and imagery in Anthony and Cleopatra, Barton

-480-

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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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