Cosmopolitanism, Mobility and Hybridity in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra
Bilkent University, Turkey
Abstract: Detecting divergence in a play that is set in a different country than the one from whose culture its text is nourished, and in a different time that qualifies the text as a piece of historical fiction is a challenge even in the eyes of the playwright’s contemporaries. In Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, every example of divergence is defined with the norm it transgresses and the norms have various sources. Elizabethan conventions of drama make the setting of the play a domain for a political discussion stretching over centuries. Yet, a more socially reflective source of conventional notions is the Elizabethan era itself. The play is set in Alexandria and Rome, foreign destinations to veil the political allegory that exists between the fictional characters and real political figures. Italy and Egypt, therefore, serve to make the audience alien to the physical sphere of the discussion and blur the most direct of these allegories. This essay aims to discuss ways in which Rome and the West are portrayed as opposed to Egypt and the East and to explore how the West and the East consider each other on a mutual basis and how they interact with one another in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. Along with representations of the West and the East, the paper aims to explore political references integrated into the play through the use of concepts like cosmopolitanism, mobility, and hybridity.
Keywords: Cosmopolitanism, Mobility, East and West, Hybridity, Power struggle in Antony and Cleopatra