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ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA.
No edition of this tragedy, previous to that in the folio of 1623, is now known ; although, from the fact of its having been entered on the Stationers' Registers by Edward Blount, one of the publishers of the folio, in May, 1608, there is a bare possibility that an earlier impression may some day come to light. It was probably written at the latter end of the year 1607, but we have no evidence to prove when it was first acted, or, indeed, that it was acted at all. There were two preceding dramas on the subject; the “Cleopatra” of Samuel Daniel, 1594; and
“ The Trajedie of Antonie,” a translation from the French by Lady Pembroke, 1595, to neither of which, however, was Shakespeare under any obligation, his story and incidents being evidently borrowed directly from the Life of Antonius in North’s Plutarch, which he has followed, even to the minutest circumstances, with scrupulous fidelity. The action comprehends the events of ten years ; beginning with the death of Fulvia, B.c. 40, and terminating with the
overthrow of the Ptolemean dynasty, B.c. 30.
M. ANTONY, ,
Friends of Antony.
Friends of Cæsar.
Attendants on Cleopatra.