illustration of Antony and Cleopatra facing each other with a snake wrapped around their necks

Antony and Cleopatra

by William Shakespeare

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Why are there so many scenes in Antony and Cleopatra?

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Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra is a tale of epic proportions. It portrays numerous facets of humanity - lust, allegiance and betrayal. Then, there is love. The love of a man for a woman. The love of a man to possess power. The love of countrymen for their land of birth.

To be able to encompass the enduring feelings that Antony felt for Cleopatra, there was a need to portray each battle in which he was embroiled.  Action changes from Alexandria, and Cleopatra’s palace, to Antony’s homeland of Rome.

In order to convey the global enormity of two significant battle sequences; the travel necessary to encompass Alexandria, Italy, Sicily, Syria, Athens, Egypt, and Rome; and do justice to love itself, Shakespeare was obligated to pen a tome of many acts.

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