Research at Sofia University >
Faculty of Classical and Modern Philology >
English and American Studies >
Publications >

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10506/1181

Title: Cleopatra: Shakespeare's Tragic Woman
Authors: Niagolov, Georgi
Keywords: William Shakespeare
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: Sofia University Press
Abstract: It is generally acknowledged that in Shakespeare’s drama certain representations of gender tend to correlate with particular genres. As Linda Bamber shows in her influential book: Comic Women, Tragic Men: A Study of Gender and Genre in Shakespeare, the comedies are often dominated by charismatic, intelligent and courageous women (e.g. Rosaline, Portia, Beatrice, Rosalind, Viola, Helena), while the tragedies are typically focused on the dire predicaments of anguished men (e.g. Titus, Hamlet, Othello, Lear, Macbeth). A significant exception to this pattern, however, is presented by The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra, in which Shakespeare creates an extraordinarily captivating female character that seems to overwhelm traditional dramatic and representational conventions. This paper proposes a gender- and genre-sensitive reconsideration of Shakespeare’s Cleopatra. First, it examines her characterisation against the background of available cultural traces of the early modern conceptualisation of women to show that Shakespeare took special care to model a multifarious epitome of the female sex, as he and his contemporaries understood it. Next, it relates the figure of Cleopatra to the customary characteristics of genre and plot in the play, as compared to Shakespeare’s other tragedies, to discover her tendency to overshadow Antony – whom we expect to be the central tragic hero. Finally, it considers possible reasons for and conclusions from what seems to be merely a technical irregularity or an accidental infatuation with a fictional character, to suggest the existence, in the wake of Elizabeth’s reign, of a cultural undercurrent that may have provided for a more complex treatment of woman’s nature in what was still, and once again, a predominantly male-centred society.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10506/1181
Appears in Collections:Publications

Files in This Item:

File Description SizeFormat
GNiagolov.Cleopatra.Shakespeare's.Tragic.Woman.pdf40.26 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
View Statistics

Items in DSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.


Valid XHTML 1.0! DSpace Software Copyright © 2002-2010  Duraspace - Feedback