All for Love

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Bloomsbury Academic, Jun 21, 2004 - Drama - 160 pages
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All for Love or, The World Well Lost is John Dryden's 1677 adaptation
of the tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra into a neo-classical quintet
with supporting voices: After Cleopatra's desertion of Antony at the
battle of Actium, not only his wife Octavia but also his general
Ventidius and his friend Dolabella strive to win him over to their
side. Antony, torn between the claims of duty, friendship, dignity and
love, despairs when he hears the rumour of Cleopatra's death, which is
not, as in Shakespeare's version, spread by the queen herself but by
her deceitful eunuch. This edition includes Dryden's dedication of the
play to the Earl of Danby and his preface, in which he defends against
French neo-classicist strictures the liberties he took with his
sources; it further discusses the play's austere power in the theatre,
which is unjustly considered to be inferior to Shakespeare's quite
distinct version of the story.

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