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Shakespeare: Antony and Cleopatra

4. Clash of Roman and Egyptian Values

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think critically about the tendency for modern directors to present Rome and Egypt as equal and opposite world-views – where Egypt is everything that Rome is not. While this oppositional model is works for most of the play, however, there are several scenes that don’t quite fit the mould – and it is these that we shall be exploring here.


In this course, we explore several aspects of Antony and Cleopatra. We begin by thinking about why Shakespeare was interested in writing plays that were set in Ancient Rome, before looking at a number of aspects of the play and its performance. In particular, we explore the play’s wide scope in both space and time, the roles of Antony and Cleopatra themselves, and the ‘divided catastrophe’ at the end of the play.


Born in Bristol, and educated at Oxford and St Louis, Dr John Lennard has taught English, American, and Commonwealth Literature in Cambridge, London, and Jamaica over more than twenty years. He has written two widely used textbooks (on poetry and drama) and monographs on Shakespeare, Paul Scott, Nabokov, and Faulkner, as well as two collections of essays on contemporary genre writers in crime, science fiction and fantasy, and romance. Enthusiastic, discursive, widely knowledgeable, and a demon for punctuation (on which he has also published extensively), he has been a popular Summer School Course Leader and lecturer for the Institute of Continuing Education since 1992.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Lennard, J. (2018, August 15). Shakespeare: Antony and Cleopatra - Clash of Roman and Egyptian Values [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Lennard, J. "Shakespeare: Antony and Cleopatra – Clash of Roman and Egyptian Values." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,