One of the tragic love stories from history, Mary Sidney’s The Tragedy of Antonie chronicles the final day of Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt, and Marc Antony, the man she loved until death. Before the play begins, Antony has been defeated by Octavius Caesar, the ruler of Rome and his former friend. Knowing that death is most likely imminent, Antony resolves that the only honorable thing for him to do--as a Roman--is end his own life. At the same time, Cleopatra is brokenhearted over the loss of Antony and her kingdom to the Roman Empire. Mary Sidney’s retelling of their deaths is a prime example of Elizabethan closet drama, inspired by the traditions of Seneca and Ancient Roman tragedy. The Tragedy of Antonie is a poetic masterpiece, driven by complex characters and the emotional toll of loss and heartbreak.
The Tragedy of Antonie guide sections