“Quick Comedians”: Mary Sidney, Samuel Daniel and the Theatrum Mundi in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra

CADMAN, Daniel (2015). “Quick Comedians”: Mary Sidney, Samuel Daniel and the Theatrum Mundi in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. In: Shakespeare 450, Paris, 21-27 April 2014. Societé Française Shakespeare.

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Official URL: http://shakespeare.revues.org/3536


Critical discussions of Cleopatra’s resonance in Renaissance drama have long been dominated by Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, a trend that has often marginalised Mary Sidney’s play, The Tragedy of Antonie, as well as its source, Robert Garnier’s Marc Antoine, and its sequel, Samuel Daniel’s Cleopatra. It has been a commonplace to regard Shakespeare’s play, with its expansive time-frame and its representation of events like the Battle of Actium, as antithetical to the neo-classicism that characterises these other works. However, this essay argues that these plays should be considered as part of a shared tradition that emphasises Cleopatra’s retreat into the private space of her tomb and her resistance to becoming a theatrical spectacle. I explore the ways in which each of these plays responds to the uses of the theatrum mundi as a means of constructing and mediating an image of sovereign authority and conclude that Cleopatra eventually comes to repudiate such processes by using the private space of the tomb as a means of reconfiguring and reasserting the ways in which her political image will be submitted for posterity.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Humanities Research Centre
Depositing User: Daniel Cadman
Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2016 11:38
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2016 11:38
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/11274

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