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Antony and Cleopatra

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

Summary of the plot or story
The play tells of the scandalous affair between the Roman general Antony and the Egyptian queen Cleopatra. Their blind passion which leads to their ultimate downfall and deaths. The plot encompasses the strong themes of ambition, power, love, friendship, deception and disaster.

Information provided about the play
William Shakespeare never published any of his plays and therefore none of the original manuscripts have survived. Eighteen unauthorised versions of his plays were, however, published during his lifetime in quarto editions by unscrupulous publishers (there were no copyright laws protecting Shakespeare and his works during the Elizabethan era).

A collection of his works did not appear until 1623 ( a full seven years after Shakespeare's death on April 23, 1616) when two of his fellow actors, John Hemminges and Henry Condell, posthumously recorded his work and published 36 of Williamís plays in the First Folio. Some dates are therefore approximate other dates are substantiated by historical events, records of performances and the dates plays appeared in print.

Date first performed
It is believed that the drama was first performed between 1606 and 1607. In the Elizabethan era there was a huge demand for new entertainment and Antony and Cleopatra would have been produced immediately following the completion of the play.

Date first printed
It is believed that the script was first printed in 1623 in the 'First Folio'. As William Shakespeare clearly did not want his work published details of the play would have therefore been noted, and often pirated without his consent, following a performance.

The settings for Antony and Cleopatra
The settings are Alexandria in Egypt and Rome & Misenum in Italy

Theme of Antony and Cleopatra
The drama is categorised as a Tragedy

Number of words in Antony and Cleopatra
The number of words in the script, according to the Complete Public Domain Text is 22,960 

Most important characters
The most important characters are:
Marc Antony and Cleopatra

Famous Quotes / Quotations
The quotes from the work are amongst Shakespeare's most famous including 'My salad days...'. Details of this famous quote follows, complete with information regarding the Act and the Scene, allowing a quick reference to the section of the play that this quotation can be found in. Please click here for the full text of the script of the play.

"My salad days, when I was green in judgment."- (Act I, Scene V).

"There ís beggary in the love that can be reckoníd." Act i. Scene 1. 

"This grief is crowned with consolation."Act i. Scene 2. 

History of Antony and Cleopatra
The drama was based on the real lovers of Roman History 

William Shakespeare's Main Source
Shakespeare found inspiration in Plutarch's "Lives" the Roman Empire and the lives of the Caesars

Inspiration from Antony and Cleopatra
The work has inspired other works, such as the film Cleopatra starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. 

The Cast and Characters
Click the link to access a list of all the cast and characters in the play.

Text - script of Antony and Cleopatra play by William Shakespeare
Cast and characters in Antony and Cleopatra play by William Shakespeare
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