Introduction
A play that ‘approves the common liar’
in Antony and Cleopatra
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This chapter looks at Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra as a script for performance. It considers the play’s rhetorical ‘signature’, its sources, dramatic structure, scenic writing, characters and casting, and the challenge it offers performance in staging a series of six ‘big’ deaths. It asks: is this play tragedy, comedy, history or farce?

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