ARE ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA OVERRATED? I posted here about the power that T.S. Eliot found in the words “Ah, Soldier!” Mary Jane commented to me that one of the ways that the words can be interpreted is: “Soldier, there is so much to say that I won’t be able to say.” This is consistent with Shakespeare’s portrayal of Antony and Cleopatra as figures of epic importance—Antony the great soldier and Cleopatra a queen from a great dynasty. Mary Beard had a review in the Financial Times (August 14-15) of a book —ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA by Adrian Goldsworthy—which does what Mary Beard calls “ambitious debunking” of Antony and Cleopatra. She says that Goldsworthy “is excellent in puncturing the myth of Antony as a great Roman military tactician and an experienced soldier.” Goldsworthy “is also refreshingly frank about the unimportance of Cleopatra herself.” Since the power of Rome was in control, all “petty monarchs such as Cleopatra” could do was to curry favor with Rome.

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