What striking points differentiate Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra from Dryden's Cleopatra drama All For Love? In what ways is Dryden's Cleopatra inferior or superior to Shakespeare's?

The main difference between Shakespeare and Dryden's plays is that Shakespeare's takes a more historical, panoramic approach while Dryden's is more of a romantic tragedy.

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The titles alone tip the reader off on the central differences between Shakespeare's and Dryden's treatments of the same material: Antony and Cleopatra is more interested in the historical situation with all of its complexities, while All for Love is more of a romantic tragedy with a historical backdrop. Shakespeare takes a broader view of the situation, going into the political intrigue between Rome and Egypt. Indeed, the relationship between the titular lovers is as much a case of east meets west as anything more personal. In contrast, Dryden's tale is more personal and less panoramic.

That Dryden is writing during the Restoration period also provides for a lot of the differences from the Elizabethan style of Shakespeare. Being a Restoration writer, Dryden was more interested in adhering to the Aristotelian unities of time, place, and action. He focuses on the last days of the lovers because it is more "realistic" to do so.

Characterization is also different in both plays. In Shakespeare's,...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 803 words.)

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