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What is the significance of the play's title All For Love by John Dryden?

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maryjanekz | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 20, 2010 at 8:46 PM via web

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What is the significance of the play's title All For Love by John Dryden?

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted June 20, 2010 at 10:32 PM (Answer #1)

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In his "Preface" to All for Love--which is an original structure that combines a "French classic tragedy" style with a deep characterization reminiscent of Shakespeare--Dryden explains his view that the love between Antony and Cleopatra is an "illegal love" based on "vice," which engenders little pity on its own because it was a purely voluntary choice as opposed to being compelled by some external circumstance. Therefore, both Antony and Cleopatra gave up all--their positions, their roles, their allegiance and duty, and their lives--for the pleasure of unjustifiable love; they gave All for Love. Dryden emphasizes this with the meeting between Cleopatra and Octavia. He refers to Octavia in his "Preface" as "virtue and innocence," saying that Octavia would want to triumph over Cleopatra when, at least for a time, virtuous love triumphs over the love stemming from vice.

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