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The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. Is this play one of Shakespeare's tragedies or histories? What are the fundamental differences between the two types of plays? What is the significance of Shakespeare’s reliance on Plutarch’s original texts?
  2. Does it matter if Antony and Cleopatra is fictionalized? Can realistic histories be as inherently tragic as dramas? Is it relevant that Shakespeare loaded ten years of material into one play that spans less than a month?
  3. Is it fair to consider Antony in this play as a continuation of Antony from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar? Do the same character flaws apply? Are we watching a man grow and develop personally over the course of time, or is this just a new fictional character created for the purpose of this play?
  4. Are Antony and Cleopatra in lust or love? Are they enamored of each other’s incredible power or by each other as individuals? How is it that the two of them, so formidable in the political sphere, seem so foolish and flippant when it comes to their affair?
  5. Does Cleopatra kill herself because she can’t live without Antony, or because she is too proud to be paraded around as Caesar’s trophy? Is one of these reasons more noble than the other?

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