Shakespeare's Work Analysis

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Script Analysis on Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra

Introduction Antony and Cleopatra is one of the great tragedies produced by William Shakespeare. The main setting of the play is the Roman Empire, and the plot is mainly based on the history of Octavius Caesar, Marc Anony and Cleopatra. This play starts after Octavius Caesar, Marc Antony and Lepidus become three rulers of the Roman Empire. Antony falls in love with the queen of Egypt—Cleopatra, and stays in Alexandria. In the play, the conflict between Antony and Octavius, Antony’s affection and reason, finally turns into an inevitable tragedy. Antony dies, while Cleopatra commits suicide. This play not only depicts typical main characters such as Antony, Cleopatra and Octavia with strong personality and tragic fate, but also indicates universal themes throughout the whole plot. Themes such as struggle between one’s affection and reason, war and love, seduction and sexuality can be seen through the language. However, when applying Shakespeare’s play in young ESL learners, the adaptation of the language, plot and themes has to be considered cautiously in order to cater for young learner’s needs at both literacy and cognition level. This essay is going to analyze how to adapt the script of Antony and Cleopatra from perspectives of theme, plot and character for S4-5 students. Challenges of script adaptation and relevant implication for L2 learners would be discussed later as well.

Background It is essential to know the historical context and of the play before adapting the play. According to Eileen (2010), pupils need to acquire background knowledge of the text they read to assist their understanding. Indeed, Shakespeare’s primary source of the play is according to Plutarch’s famous tale of Antony and Cleopatra (Facciponti, 2001). Cleopatra was the Queen who governed the whole Egypt around two thousand years ago. Antony, Octavius Caesar and Lepidus shaped the rulership of the entire Roman Empire



References: • Al-Garrallah. A.S & Al-Hasan.W.Z (2010). Shakespeare’s Plays and Modern Adaptations. Studies in Literature and Language 1, No.6: 31-36. • Bellman, J.F. (1998). Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. Cliffs Notes. • Curriculum Development Council. (2002) CDC English Language Education Key Learning Area Curriculum Guide. Hong Kong: Edcation Bureau. • Crystal, D.(2008). Think on my words: Exploring Shakespeare’s Language. Cambrige: Cambridge Universtiy Press. • Eileen, (2010) To hell, with Shakespeare. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences 7: 317-325 • Facciponti,L( 2001) • Bevington.D.M & Shakespeare, W. (2005) Antony and Cleopatra. Cambrige: Cambridge Universtiy Press. • Logan, R.A. (2006) The Masks of Anthony and Cleopatra. Comparative Drama 40, No. 3: 374-377. • Maguire (2004) Studying Shakespeare: A guide to the plays. U.K: Blackwell Publishing. • Scherer, A. (2010) Celebrating Idleness: Antony and Cleopatra and Play Theory. Comparative Drama 44, No. 3: 277-369. • Shmoop (2010) The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra: Shmoop Literature Guide. Shmoop University Inc. • Sparknotes. (2002). Antony and Cleopatra. New York: Spark, 68 Apendix I The selected scripts of the playtext Antony and Cleopatra

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