Antony & Cleopatra–Act III

Sometimes life throws you punches and you have to sleep for a week to reconfigure your life.

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Enobarbus. He’s calling all of Antony’s bluffs and faults, mainly, “that would make his will/Lord of his reason” (III.xiii.3-4). The whole theme of the play, kids. Make your will or pleasures the master of your reason, you’ll make a few political mistakes, war against Caesar by sea (which obviously isn’t your strong suit) and flee the minute your buttercup leaves the fight. I’m a little obsessed with Enobarbus (despite the fact that it takes me a few tries to type his name correctly), because he’s incredibly aware of everything. And awareness is sexy.

I’ve been thinking about this line of his, “I see men’s judgments are/A parcel of their fortunes, and things outward/Do draw the inward quality after them/To suffer all alike” (III.xiii.31-34). And I actually have to think about it more before I can say anything about it. It’s too cool for school, and right now my thoughts are a-jumble with “negative capability” and “outward manifestations of internal truths” and I can’t put them together quite yet.

REPUTATIONS: RICHARD BURTON, TAYLOR MADE FOR STARDOM

That said, I have a feeling certain loves are not reciprocated by other loves. And the in-continuity of Antony no longer being himself with Cleopatra, and Cleopatra’s identification that she is only herself with Antony…things are going to get a little interesting on the “who is who in relation to who” front here soon. Love, that which makes us not ourselves…but this one doesn’t seem to…fit. 

Antony & Cleopatra–Act II

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So, Antony gets married to Caesar’s sister to smooth over Caesar’s quarrel with Antony. Let me state the obvious. Or better yet, let’s let Enobarbus state it for me. “He will to his Egyptian dish again. Then shall the sighs of Octavia blow the fire up in Caesar, and, as I said before, that which is the strength of their amity shall prove the immediate author of their variance. Antony will use his affection where it is. He married but his occasion here” (II.vi.126-131).

I’m wondering what the greater message is here–for Antony marries Octavia out of duty, but it will be his undoing when he returns to the bed of Cleopatra. The Literature major in me says that perhaps there is a conflict in letting passions rule reason? The marriage to Octavia is purely rational, while the affair with Cleopatra stems from Antony’s passion.

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And Menas. Quite the Machiavellian, killing everyone while they’re drunk on a ship? Or at least conspiring to. Pompey, thankfully, believes more in his honor than in his accomplishments.

I had more to say, but that was before I went to work. My apologies that this couldn’t be a better entry.

Until tomorrow.

Much Ado About Nothing–Act I

Anyone who knows me, knows I love this play. I’ve seen the Kenneth Branaugh movie a million times, my latest favortie past-time is watching the David Tennant and Catherine Tate version, I’ve watched the BBC movie edition at least twice. I’ve read the play a thousand times. I wrote my thesis on it. And yes, I never, ever get sick of it. I think this play is the catalyst for my adoration of Shakespeare.

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The play begins after a war–a war that is undisclosed in time and place–we only hear of in the beginning of the play. I think this is key to the play, really. It doesn’t set our mind thinking, “Oh, this is after the crusades” or “I wonder if this is a reference to this historic war.” It rips us out of our neo-scholarly thoughts and launches us into a different kind of warfare. Ah, yes, the warfare of love!

For example–the “merry war” of Benedick and Beatrice. Which, I honestly don’t want to talk about them until we get more into the play. Yet, I will say, they are delightful to watch.

I want to get more at the root of the relationship between Don Pedro and Claudio. When I’ve discussed this play in the past, I’ve noticed there is a tendency to see Claudio as an extremely weak character–I mean, really, he can’t even talk to the girl he digs to woo her himself? What a twit. But I would like to point out the dialogue between the two of them, because I think the problem is not in Claudio’s weakness, but in his lack of experience doing anything aside from acting as a soldier. How do soldier’s woo women? Claudio certainly hasn’t the faintest idea. And Don Pedro’s the guy who wants to make sure his men are taken care of after the war–so he’s going to match ’em up.

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Moving on to scene two. The main “thing” to this whole play is the overhearing or overseeing by the characters, some are mislead, some are placed to mis-lead, either way–it’s kind of a play about gossip.

Finally, Don John. Essentially, he’s a straight out villain–mustache-twirling and all. I would like to propose a reason for his horrid disposition lies in the fact that he chooses to be run by his passions and chooses not to quell such a thing with reason. Boom.

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Sadly, I have to get going to a going away party for some Dutch men, otherwise I’d spend all day on this entry.

Until tomorrow.