Thursday, April 16, 2009

1600 to 1699: Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra to Shakespeare, Coriolanus.

Shakespeare. British. 1607. Play. Antony and Cleopatra. Antony succumbs to a life of sensual pleasure with Cleopatra. Defeated, thinking that Cleopatra is dead, Antony falls on his sword. To avoid Octavius’s leading her through Rome, Cleopatra applies an asp to her bosom. They share a last kiss and then both die.

Cyril Tourneur. British. 1607. Play. The Revenger’s Tragedy. Incredible degeneracy of the duke and his court. Senecan tragedy.

Francis Beaumont. British. 1607. Play. The Knight of the Burning Pestle. Play is interrupted by a grocer who inserts scenes and comments on the action.

Jean de Schelander. French. 1608. Play. Tyre and Sidon. Setting is Phoenicia. Lovers from either side of the war. Tragic ending is later rewritten. In a preface to the revised play, a cleric defends the mixture of comic and tragic elements.

Shakespeare. British. 1608. Play. The Tragedy of Coriolanus. Angered by the fickleness of the masses, Coriolanus joins the Volscians to besiege Rome. After pleas from his mother and wife, he raises the siege. When he tries to explain his actions to the Volscians, he is murdered.

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