Talk:Antony and Cleopatra

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The article as it stands contains the sentence:

Frequently vain, self-dramatizing and histrionic, the audience must sometimes laugh at her, but other times consider her a true tragic heroine.

Can we fix this? As it stands, it says that the audience is vain, self-dramatizing and histrionic, not Cleopatra, as presumably intended. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 07:33, 21 December 2005


fireteddy: in my edit I removed the link "proving" Antony & Cleopatra has a masonic subtext, as it is conspiracy theorist mumbojumbo useless to an information-based article in an encyclopedia. If whoever first posted it needs it to be there, I'd recommend that it be placed in the External Links and not in the main body of the text. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Fireteddy (talkcontribs) 15:34, 30 March 2006

  • Fireteddy could you please tell me the grounds for your assumed expertise on Elizabethan Freemasonry? As a matter of fact, there is good evidence that literary patrons such as the Lord Admiral, Lord Derby, the Earl of Oxford, King James and William Herbert were all deeply involved in Freemasonry. There is also evidence that Shakespeare's literary peers, such as Thomas Nashe, John Lyly and Gabriel Harvey, were very familiar with the craft [1]. It is against this background that I interpret some of the esoteric allusions in the play to have a Masonic raison d'etre. I believe the two quotations from the (apocryphal) book of Esdras cited in my article are profoundly important keys to an understanding of the play. This is not useless 'conspiracy theorist mumbojumbo' at all, but based on reasoned argument. Do you have any knowledge of the occult philosophy in the Elizabethan age? Shakespeare is not so precious a literary icon that he cannot be subjected to interdisciplinary research. He was a man of his times. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Kit Marlowe (talkcontribs) 19:27, 30 March 2006
    • If people want to delete large sections of text from the page to which this discussion relates, would they kindly attempt to justify their actions beforehand. Unmerited deletion is a form of vandalism. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Kit Marlowe (talkcontribs) 19:42, 4 April 2006

This is a blatant violation of WP:V. I hope I don't have to argue about that with you. 17:08, 19 April 2006 (UTC)


This article has been listed on WP:RFC/ART for the Freemasonry conflict (so this section should already have been created). Personally, I don't think the sources cited by User:Kit Marlowe at present qualify as reliable sources, so this should not be included.Trebor 20:52, 19 April 2006 (UTC)

The first source [2] cited by Kit Marlowe is a self-published website and thus not acceptable in an encyclopedia (see WP:V). Kit needs to find a peer reviewed article on the subject. The second source [3] might be more acceptable if The Hermetic Review is peer reviewed, but since it doesn't refer to Antony and Cleopatra it's not very relevant here . The Singing Badger 20:02, 19 April 2006 (UTC)
(Here via RfC.) These don't pass my idea of WP:V (well, okay, I suppose I could write off for the Hermetic Review CD) and WP:NOR. There are some more details about The Hermetic Review at the Alchemy website. Although I don't need the assistance of Google to recognise the name of one of the regular contributors to the magazine as a published author in the field of occultism, I don't think the magazine is peer-reviewed in the way Wikipedia likes. If this is a common theory (and there was something about Shakespeare and freemasonry in The Independent newspaper this weekend, oddly enough; although it was in the context of "batty theories about Shakespeare" in a piece presumably timed for his birthday, and not terribly helpful here), there ought to be something else from the field of English literature or drama which can be cited to support this. Telsa (talk) 22:41, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

There is not a great deal of need for those ignorant of The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age (a seminal work by Frances Yates) to lose hair over the status of the peer reviewed Hermetic Journal. If any one bothered to read the article cited they would see that it refers to unambiguous primary sources by the likes of Thomas Nashe and Gabriel Harvey, discussing their personal involvement with a "sworn brotherhood" tagged "maisonry" whose aim is to build up a spiritual temple, and whose jargon they clearly understand. These people would also do well to dip a toe in David Stevenson's book (CUP), The Origins of Freemasonry - Scotland's century 1590 - 1710'. They would also do well to ponder the Masonic symbolism carved into the walls of Rosslyn Chapel near Edinburgh. The only inscription in that building contemporaneous with its 15th century construction is the quotation from the book of Esdras cited in the article as being a noticeable influence on the subtext of Antony and Cleopatra.

There is a large literature on the esoteric content of Shakespeare's plays, just as there is an even larger literature on the esoteric content of the Renaissance world. The self-appointed defenders of Shakespearean purity would do well to acknowledge this and open their minds to criticisms of Shakespeare that address the spiritual and intellectual aspirations of his time. The fact that esoteric philosophy is denigrated by the rational minds of today is no excuse for ignoring its prevalance or the esteem in which it was held by the intellectual elite of Shakespeare's day.--Kit 17:01, 29 April 2006 (UTC)

Well that's great. So what we need for the Antony and Cleopatra article is page references to books that specifically discuss the masonic material in that play. The Singing Badger 22:41, 29 April 2006 (UTC)

Dissing Octavia[edit]

In Act 3 Scene 3 servants reassure Cleopatra that Octavia has "brown" hair, which is not a sign of beauty in Elizabethan terms; today that's not necessaraily unattractive; the nearest I could come in modern English is "bad hair". Feel free to improve it! rewinn 06:09, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

Pompey the Pirate?[edit]

"in order to help him fight against Pompey (Sextus Pompeius), Menacretes, and Menas, three notorious pirates."

I'm no expert but I'm quite sure Pompey wouldn't look too kindly on his being described as a pirate. Wasn't he given the job of clearing pirates from Roman seas? I could be wrong... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 15:00, 23 September 2006

Revert Threats by AndyJones[edit]

Andy - to quote Wiki policy on NPOV: "For instance, that Shakespeare is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest playwrights of the English language is a bit of knowledge that one should learn from an encyclopedia. However, in the interests of neutrality, one should also learn that a number of reputable scholars argue that there is a strong case to make that the author of much of the work still attributed to Shakespeare was his contemporary Christopher Marlowe." Imagine my surprise - even the wiki policy page on NPOV cites the authorship question as a valid debate that "in the interests of neutrality" should be discussed. You need to stop trying to prevent opposing views from appearing on Wikipedia. Threatening to revert all edits that represent an opposing view is simply not justified. It is also clearly not the NPOV policy. Smatprt 06:00, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

The treasurer Seleucus[edit]

Hey, I removed this paragraph (although I just noticed that I wasn't signed in at the time): "She tests Octavius' intentions towards her by instructing her treasurer to 'betray' her when she gives Octavius an accounting of her wealth. When Octavius dismisses his statement that Cleopatra has held back information about her actual possessions Cleopatra realizes that, despite his promises of fair treatment, he intends to parade her at his triumph." Cleopatra certainly never instructs her treasurer to do anything in the play; I'm aware that some critics think it was a put-upon, but that's not unanimous (For example, Mary Rosenberg argues against it in "The Masks of Antony and Cleopatra"), so I thought it was inappropriate to have it there as a statement of hard fact. At any rate, it didn't make much sense as written; it's my understanding that those who believe that Seleucus was acting on her behalf argue that it was to fool Octavius into thinking she didn't plan to kill herself, not that it was some sort of test; what would it prove? Deadlyhair (talk) 00:00, 17 August 2009 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Deadlyhair (talkcontribs) 00:00, 17 August 2009


Could anyone justify the choice to use historical names and not those of the play? This is about the play, it's not a history manual! (talk) 18:45, 22 June 2011 (UTC)

I agree, so I fixed it. They say we should always, after all, be bold... --Bajazeth. And think to rouse us from our dreadful siege / Of the famous Grecian Constantinople 13:54, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

Re recent edits[edit]

In the last few days this article has gone from just over 50k (the maximum recommended length for a Wikipedia article) to over 100k. The added material is opinion, analysis and commentary, of which there is no shortage when it comes to Shakespeare. The new material has wall-of-text paragraphs and clever but careless writing. I think there are also notability or undue weight issues with respect to how much space to devote to things that could be mentioned in passing. I suggest the original poster study Strunk and White's Elements of Style, then start chiseling away. Zyxwv99 (talk) 23:35, 25 April 2012 (UTC)

Just looking over the article, I'm seeing more recently added walls of text, in exactly the same style of writing from various posters such as "Allisonandtommy." For example:

The ruin of nobility and aristocracy is not only a modern idea, it's a fact of modern society. Max H. James explores the idea that Cleopatra is an early image of this inconvenient truth for nobility in the postmodern world. In regard to Shakespeare's "Antony and Cleopatra" James writes, "With the unforgettable irony, the “ideal” world is a world of an aging “harlot” and a graying playboy who try to maintain a magic “eternal” world of pleasure and play, but discover that their dissipation turns into dissolution and decay.

Can anyone spot how many errors are in that paragraph? Cleopatra was not an aristocrat. The term "the nobility" encompasses both both royalty and aristocrats, but must be preceded by the definite article. "'s a fact of modern society" contains a contraction ("it's") and is POV. Michael Moore has succeeded in transforming the cliche "inconvenient truth" into a politically-tainted cliche. Also, is "with the unforgettable irony" a typo or the quoted author's own words? Zyxwv99 (talk) 00:00, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

  • Eliminated that particular part of the text, for problems noted and as it wasn't contributing anything particularly valuable. Am also paring down / consolidating some of the other recent additions. Trixi72 (talk) 19:17, 19 May 2012 (UTC)

If no one has the heart to revert the recent series of edits (obviously made in good faith), then it is time to begin the long, arduous task of editing the text to something at least remotely resembling encyclopedic prose. Zyxwv99 (talk) 13:48, 29 April 2012 (UTC)

Assessment Requested[edit]

A couple of days ago, I made a request at the Shakespeare WikiProject to assess the article in light of the recent additions, as discussed above. I'm hoping that, with a detailed description of the new assessment and parts of the article that my have been worsened by the edits, careful pruning can be made to the walls of text without potentially compromising the scope and knowledge of the article. (talk) 15:50, 4 June 2012 (UTC)

Strange changes by and[edit]

On 2011-03-07, replaced "Life of Marcus Antonius" by "Life of Garey Busey'"; subsequently replaced that by "Lives". Neither did leave a comment. That's as it stands till today. Maybe someone feels competent to check that? -- Aisano (talk) 18:09, 8 September 2012 (UTC)

Anthonie and Cleopatra[edit]

Wouldn't it be better to use original title from First Folio ? (talk) 02:14, 15 November 2013 (UTC)

No. See WP:COMMONNAME, which gives Romeo and Juliet as an example (though that's a matter of length rather than spelling). --BDD (talk) 17:03, 15 April 2014 (UTC)

Critics, plural[edit]

This is full of references beginning "critics say..." when only one critic is cited, which makes me suspicious that someone is pushing their own POV under the guise of selected critics, some of whom wrote 40 years ago. Seems to be a lot written by the same personSceptic1954 (talk) 22:46, 27 July 2014 (UTC)


This article seems to be largely plagiarized from here without source:,+proclaimed+a+villain+for+the+ages&source=bl&ots=GXcHcTU56p&sig=GH_oVNTSBaTN222wO_KQj-9Nk38&hl=en&sa=X&ei=x9ZtVdW-KtKXyAT22IDgBA&ved=0CB4Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=she%20can%20imagine%20nothing%20worse%20than%20being%20led%20in%20chains%20through%20the%20streets%20of%20Rome%2C%20proclaimed%20a%20villain%20for%20the%20ages&f=false — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:20, 2 June 2015 (UTC)

No that's just a mirror of this article. The book just packaged uncopyrighted text. Paul B (talk) 16:47, 2 June 2015 (UTC)

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 Done --Xover (talk) 05:44, 16 October 2016 (UTC)