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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: February ::
Antony and Cleopatra and The Sonnets?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0221  Thursday, 3 February 2005

[1]     From:   Abigail Quart <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 2 Feb 2005 14:54:53 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.0204 Antony and Cleopatra and The Sonnets?

[2]     From:   Peter Hadorn <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 02 Feb 2005 15:45:38 -0600
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.0204 Antony and Cleopatra and The Sonnets?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Abigail Quart <
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Date:           Wednesday, 2 Feb 2005 14:54:53 -0500
Subject: 16.0204 Antony and Cleopatra and The Sonnets?
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.0204 Antony and Cleopatra and The Sonnets?

Well, the first clue that AC might be related to Shakespeare's life is
that he chose to write it. And it's kind of delightful to think that his
description of Cleopatra (she makes hungry where most she satisfies [be
merciful,I'm not looking in the book for exact]) might be his take on
someone he knew. Come to think of it, HOW would he know a woman could do
that if he hadn't met one?
Also, I would think a writer would need to keep the voices and
characters of specific real women in mind while writing, especially with
boys playing the women.

However. You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You is a basic Shakespearean
theme. It's the very essence of Twelfth Night, for instance. And
Midsummer Night's Dream. It's all over the comedies.
Maybe it's ALL because of Emilia Lanier. But we still don't know. It
could be a whole other woman that history never said a word about.

Arghh! Could Emilia have been the source of Shakespeare's Italian
knowledge?

Research. What a good excuse for meeting. Often. So many plays set in
Italy. So many questions to ask.

(Leading to a whole other tangent of wondering if William learned his
French in bed. The Katherine language lesson didn't have to happen
standing up.)

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Hadorn <
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Date:           Wednesday, 02 Feb 2005 15:45:38 -0600
Subject: 16.0204 Antony and Cleopatra and The Sonnets?
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.0204 Antony and Cleopatra and The Sonnets?

I am uneasy about Mr. Swanson's connecting Cleopatra with the dark lady
of the sonnets because "we have a speaker [the "I" of the sonnets] or
character [Antony] tossed back and forth between two opposing worlds, a
man passionately attracted  -- even to his own destruction --, and
language that explicitly describes the speaker/character's loss of self."

Rather, I see this as a common theme in many of Shakespeare's works.
Consider Troilus, Angelo, and Othello.  Are we therefore supposed to see
Cressida, Isabella, and Desdemona as types of the dark lady?

Another, similar theme is that of friendship vs. romance: Two Gentlemen
of Verona, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, even The
Winter's Tale (I'm sure I'm leaving out lots of examples).

Or social responsibility vs. personal self-interest: Prince Hal/Henry V,
Cassius/Brutus/Antony, Bolingbrook, Hotspur, Macbeth, Prospero.

I see all these as variations on a very popular and effective theme.

Peter Hadorn
University of Wisconsin-Platteville

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