The Masks of Anthony and Cleopatra
University of Delaware Press, 2006 - 605 Seiten
The Masks of Anthony and Cleopatra follows the pattern of Marvin Rosenberg's four earlier Masks books and offers a sensitive interpretation of the play based on extensive reading of both literary criticism and performance reviews.
In the middle of this play of clashing values and great conflicting personalities, the unhappy Octavia - sister of the ambitious Octavius Caesar and newly married to the heroic Mark Anthony - sums up the ambiguity of her divided world in her heart-wrenching lament:
Husband win, win brother, Prays and destroys the prayer; no midway 'Twixt these extremes at all.
In his analysis, Marvin Rosenberg sets out to steer a path between the "extremes" of Rome and Egypt and all they stand for: and to explore the relentless "to and back" confrontation of their different sets of values which leads ultimately to destruction.
What his study reveals is a world of endless oppositions and ambiguities. Reason (policy and expediency) is pitted against emotion (love and enduring relationship); the personal and private is balanced against the public and universal; the human is juxtaposed with the divine, the heroic set against the mundane and petty. Great complex characters oppose each other and are divided within themselves, both on the wide stage of the world and within their own personalities. The language is full of antithesis and oxymorons: and the most magnificent poetry is placed alongside the most simple and moving of expressions.
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