Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 404. Tuesday, 29 June 1993.
Date: Monday, 28 Jun 93 11:07:09 EDT
Subject: Antony and Cleopatra Query
In the book "Shakespeare's Women" (I've forgotten the author, though it was
also a woman), there is a section on Cleopatra. The radical re-reading given to
Cleopatra (and, in fact, all the women in the book) is to take her seriously
(as in respectfully, not deadly), and evaluate her actual words and actions.
It's amazing how much more difficult it is (at least for me) to believe and
respect a woman in Shakespeare who has traditionally been portrayed and
criticized as insincere, than it is to believe and respect a man in Shakespeare
with similar critical baggage (for example, Polonius).
Also, Enobarbus is not assumed to be an objective commentator, but a character
with an agenda, like any other.
[I believe the book mentioned here is Irene Dash's *Wooing, Wedding, and Power:
Women in Shakespeare's Plays*, Columbia UP, 1981. --hmc]