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Antony and Cleopatra seems to have a special place in Shakespeares works because it is at a crossroad between two types of play It clearly belongs to what are generally called the Roman plays along with Coriolanus and Julius Caesar But it is also considered a tragedy The importance of history in the play cannot be denied especially where it is compared to Shakespeares great tragedies such as Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet But one might wonder what is specifically tragic in Antony and Cleopatra and what can be said about the tragic in a play which is so different from the other tragedies It is clear that the notion of tragic in the everyday sense is not necessarily the same as the notion of tragedy which is a philosophical notion whose definition depends on which philosophic system one takes into account In this article I shall take the term tragic in its literary and dramatic sense and try to define its main characteristics Taking into account a wide corpus of plays from Antiquity as well as from France and England we can detect several constant features that can define the tragic A tragedy usually shows a character that is outstanding by his rank orand inner abilities falling into misfortune as a result of fate and because of an error or a weakness for which he is not really responsible Several tragic elements can be detected in Antony and Cleopatra First we find characters that have high rank because they are outstanding figures we also see a tragic situation because from the beginning of the play we see no hope of a happy ending In the end even if it is hard to see a transcendence in action the play shows a failure of human freedom a determinism in the characters fate that can be considered as the essence of tragic The heroes of Antony and Cleopatra have high rank and ability because
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