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A play that ‘approves the common liar’
Carol Chillington Rutter

Antony. Caesar's executive efficiency is staggeringly impressive. (Witness the incredible speed of his march into Egypt.) His success is magnetic. (Witness all the followers of Antony who revolt to Caesar. Clearly, in the political play Antony and Cleopatra , Caesar is man of the match.) More than a politician, he's a bureaucrat. Note his attention to dispatches, to paper trails, to sound bites. His face, Byam Shaw thought, should have a ‘mask-like quality’: the face of a poker player? And ‘when he smiles one feels it comes from the brain & not the heart’. Caesar is

in Antony and Cleopatra
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Shakespeare and the supernatural
Victoria Bladen and Yan Brailowsky

Supernatural elements constitute a significant dimension of Shakespeare's plays: ghosts haunt political spaces and internal psyches; witches foresee the future and disturb the present; fairies meddle with love; natural portents and dreams foreshadow events; and a magus conjures a tempest from the elements. These aspects contribute to the dramatic power and intrigue of the plays, whether they are treated in performance with irony, comedic effect or unsettling gravity. Although Shakespeare's plays were written and performed for early modern

in Shakespeare and the supernatural
Taking the measure of Antony and Cleopatra, Royal Shakespeare Company, 1972, 1978, 1982
Carol Chillington Rutter

with the audience. He gained for the RSC its ‘first Arts Council grant, discovered Brecht as a model for theatrical aesthetic’, and, in partnership with another young turk, the designer John Bury, ‘settled into the image that would define its visual house style for the rest of the decade’, most importantly discovering in Shakespeare's history plays ‘political Shakespeare’, ‘a Shakespeare who articulated “the pressure of now”’: a Shakespeare ‘who anatomised power (institutional, oppositional, personal, renegade), and so anticipated the concerns – and rhetoric – of the

in Antony and Cleopatra
Yulia Ryzhik

, resorting to arms, though they have not yet turned against the gods and nature, are ‘not yet impious’ ( Meta I.125–7). In the Age of Iron, division becomes for the first time political: the earth, ‘which had hitherto been a common possession like the sunlight and the air’ ( Meta I.135), is now defaced with boundary lines and ripped to its very bowels by men in search of riches ( Meta I.136–40). Wealth – which is to say, divided and unequal ownership – leads to envy and suspicion, which lead to warfare and worse: husband turns against wife, son against father, host

in Spenser and Donne
Shakespeare’s Globe, 1999
Carol Chillington Rutter

current stereotypes under cover of the period costume ‘as if’ they were period representations, representations knowingly to be laughed at like some ‘horrible histories’ visitors from a ‘long ago’ we could gaze at smugly, a ‘foreign country’ where they did ‘things differently’? (Such smugness suggested that we, of course, were now vastly superior, and doing these ‘things’ so much better.) In short, if Rylance was ‘performing’ gender (along lines Butler proposed), whose tropes of performance was he playing with? Politically, what was he playing at

in Antony and Cleopatra
Making and unmaking a Whig Marvell
Matthew C. Augustine

have seriously eroded his executive powers, Cromwell dissolved the first Protectoral Parliament at the earliest opportunity allowed by the Instrument of Government, on 22 January 1655, just days after the collector George Thomason acquired a copy of Marvell’s poem. How then are we to understand the gap between Marvell’s epideictic rhetoric in The First Anniversary and the realities of the political situation? Nigel Smith suggests that ‘If the poem offers apparent support to the Protector, the opinions of its author may not be so readily

in Aesthetics of contingency
Robert Ormsby

-inflected version of the play. One year earlier, the Royal Shakespeare Company had staged Günter Grass’s The Plebeians Rehearse the Uprising: A German Tragedy, a play that critiques Brecht’s supposedly compromised political stance by fictionalizing the director’s rehearsal of his Coriolanus adaptation during the 1953 East Berlin workers’ uprising. Brecht’s techniques are also discernible in the RSC’s 1972

in Coriolanus
Blair Worden

bureaucracy; the pastoral failures of Puritanism and the obstinacy of alternative social values and ecclesiastical allegiances; the fears and hatreds provoked by religious sectarianism: those liabilities may or may not have been insuperable, but at least we can say that they could not have been overcome without the basis of political stability which Puritan rule failed to secure. The two great works of political theory of the 1650s, Hobbes’s Leviathan and Harrington’s Oceana, offered contrasting answers to the same question: how could the nation escape from its convulsions

in From Republic to Restoration
David Heffernan

Elizabethan Dublin 75 political culture of Dublin and the Pale. The texts he considered, particularly Spenser’s Mother Hubberd’s tale, illustrate that literary production in Renaissance Ireland often took the form of political commentary. However, what has remained relatively unexplored is the degree to which the spread to Ireland of new systems of bureaucracy and the proliferation of administrative, secretarial and political literature which was attendant on it, paralleled the arrival of the literary and cultural Renaissance in the course of the sixteenth century. This

in Dublin
Clarendon, Cressy and Hobbes, and the past, present and future of the Church of England
Paul Seaward

Commonwealth (in which Clarendon had had a hand), they could scarcely have been called friends.5 There is no evidence that either knew about the other’s writing of history. Had they done so, they might very well have seen their differing approaches to the past not only as emblematic of their very different philosophical and political ideas, but also as indicative of faultlines in the constitutional and religious politics of the Restoration which in 1668 were beginning to open up (for Clarendon) alarmingly or (for Hobbes) enticingly wide. 206 207 Clarendon, Cressy and

in From Republic to Restoration