Xah's Belles-lettres Blog Archive 2013-08 to 2013-08

“He hath given his empire, Up to a whore.”

Antony and Cleopatra is a tragedy by William Shakespeare. The play was first printed in the First Folio of 1623. The plot is based on Thomas North's translation of Plutarch's Lives and follows the relationship between Cleopatra and Mark Antony from the time of the Sicilian revolt to Cleopatra's suicide during the Final War of the Roman Republic. The major antagonist is Octavius Caesar, one of Antony's fellow triumviri and the future first emperor of Rome. The tragedy is a Roman play characterised by swift, panoramic shifts in geographical locations and in registers, alternating between sensual, imaginative Alexandria and the more pragmatic, austere Rome.

Many consider the role of Cleopatra in this play one of the most complex female roles in Shakespeare's work.:p.45 She is frequently vain and histrionic, provoking an audience almost to scorn; at the same time, Shakespeare's efforts invest both her and Antony with tragic grandeur. These contradictory features have led to famously divided critical responses.

Antony and Cleopatra

histrionic «“theatrical” (figuratively, “hypocritical”), 1640s, from Latin histrionicus “pertaining to an actor,” from histrio (genitive histrionis) “actor,” said to be of Etruscan origin. The literal sense in English is from 1759.»

exuberance «1630s, from French exubérance (16c.), from Latin exuberantia "superabundance," noun of state from exuberare (see exuberant). Exuberancy attested from 1610s.»

Vocabulary in 〈A Tale of Two Cities〉

twerk: The rhythmic gyrating of the lower fleshy extremities in a lascivious manner.

“O, they have lived long on the alms-basket of words. I marvel thy master hath not eaten thee for a word; for thou art not so long by the head as honorificabilitudinitatibus: thou art easier swallowed than a flap-dragon.”

Honorificabilitudinitatibus

Moulin Rouge, C'est Féerie 🎶 (updated with video and lyrics)

English Accent: Scottish Accent 📺 (updated)