Chrysalis Academy Posted January 23, 2017 Share Posted January 23, 2017 Well, I had something happen that I didn't expect: I disliked a Shakespeare play. Shannon and I went to see the filmed version of the Stratford Festival production of Antony & Cleopatra, and I didn't like it. We've also been reading the play, and really struggling. It doesn't read like other Shakespeare plays - there isn't really any comic relief to speak of, though Enobarbus is the best character - the language feels more stilted and convoluted, and there are fewer really magical turns of phrase. I could easily believe a claim that Shakespeare didn't write this play, or that it was a collaboration that he didn't participate much in (I haven't investigated the possibility, I'm just saying this based on how it reads). So I'm not going to force us to finish reading it. As far as the story, yes, it's based on Plutarch who had it in for Cleopatra, so I knew that it would be an ahistorical hit-job, but for whatever reason it really bothered me. I can watch or read Richard III, and think, Well, this is clearly a Tudor propaganda piece and doesn't describe historical reality, and still enjoy the play as a good story with a great villain. But I can't do that with A&C. Partly because I admire Cleopatra as a historical figure, singular in a world of solely male leaders, and I hate to see her memory denigrated in such a way. In such a way is the key, I think: she is made to look foolish, devious, weak, and jealous, all "feminine" traits that are really focused on. Low blows by Plutarch and by Shakespeare. I'm kind of surprised because Shakespeare at least is usually better at villains, he makes them interesting, human, and complex. Not so with poor Cleopatra, she's a parody of a hysterical woman. I thought it was kind of sad. 21 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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