February 27, 2006

"To the Very Heart of Loss"

In the following essay, Simonds uses the study of Renaissance iconography as a tool to explore Antony and Cleopatra's characterization. Simonds emphasizes the ambivalence with which Antony and Cleopatra are drawn, in that they are portrayed as both extremely human and semi-divine.

Simonds says that Antony and Cleopatra should not be valorized as sharing a transcendent love affair. Cleopatra is the evil goddess(VAMPIRE) Fortune, who lures Antony to his doom by imparting the addictions of lust and gambling. Antony, then, is a silly fool. In turn, the two lovers must die to make way for a Christian world. Simonds' rather stunning argument is very much a source study: she draws heavily on analogies between Renaissance depictions of the goddess Fortune and Shakespeare's own version of Cleopatra. A source study such as this (Simonds seems to want to provide the definitive reading of Cleopatra) can seem very reductive.

Posted by SarahLodzsun at February 27, 2006 11:59 AM

I think the comparison of Cleo to Fortuna was kind of interesting. They were both very sexual and unstable. I've heard the saying women are crazy and men are plain dumb. Although Antony was honorable and Cleo was powerful, I have to agree.

Posted by: Erin at February 28, 2006 08:34 PM
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