Offer Me Egyptian Delights: An Exploration of Cultural Identity and Gender Performance in Antony and Cleopatra

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Authors
Williams, Nicole
Advisor
Gupta, Soumitree
Editor
Date of Issue
2023-04-28
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Citation
Series/Report No.
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Title
Offer Me Egyptian Delights: An Exploration of Cultural Identity and Gender Performance in Antony and Cleopatra
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Type
Presentation
Description
Abstract
While it is not one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays, Antony and Cleopatra offers perhaps the greatest deal of insight into the rigid structures of Roman masculinity by juxtaposing this ideology with the fluidity of gender expression presented in Shakespeare’s imagining of Egypt. The play is rich with critical potential, offering countless insights into the structures of gender, cultural identity, and politics to such an extent that the play itself defies any attempts to form a stable reading. Antony struggles to reestablish his identity as a typical, virtuous Roman male, yet also struggles to embrace his relationship with Cleopatra and the fluidity of gender roles within their relationship. Cleopatra herself vacillates between mirroring Antony’s masculinity and embodying a highly feminine archetype, rendering a stable interpretation nearly impossible through her highly fluid performance. In this presentation, I plan to explore the ways in which the performance of gender connects to the titular lovers on an individual scale, as well as the overall political and social dynamic of Rome and Egypt.
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Degree Awarded
Semester
Spring
Department
English