You are not currently logged in. Please create an account or log in to view the full course.

Shakespeare: Antony and Cleopatra

1. Shakespeare and Roman History

This is the course trailer. Please create an account or log in to view this lecture.

  • Description
  • Cite

About this Lecture


In this module we ask the question: Why did Shakespeare write about Roman history? What was it about this two-thousand year old civilization that interested him and his audience?


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 - Shakespeare and Roman History [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Lennard, J. "Shakespeare: Antony and Cleopatra – Shakespeare and Roman History." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,