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Shakespeare: Antony and Cleopatra

2. Sprawling in Space and Time

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About this Lecture


Antony and Cleopatra is a play that is sprawling in both space and time: the action it describes covers roughly ten years, and the action takes place across Italy, Greece, Syria, and Egypt. In this module, we explore three of the effects of this geographical and temporal distension.


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 - Sprawling in Space and Time [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Lennard, J. "Shakespeare: Antony and Cleopatra – Sprawling in Space and Time." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,