Brian C. Lockey

in The Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199566105
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature


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The ancient Roman Empire loomed large in the early modern imagination. Shakespeare wrote and co-wrote a number of plays and poems about ancient Rome, the most important of which, Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra, recount the last days of the Roman Republic and the empire's foundation. His late play, Cymbeline, reflects the early modern tensions within English and British imperial ideology concerning identification with and rejection of Roman imperialism. More than any other Shakespeare play, The Tempest lends itself to the topic of empire, directly addressing the related subject of how to justify the conquest of overseas populations and the colonization of unfamiliar lands.

Keywords: Roman Empire; William Shakespeare; Cymbeline; Roman imperialism; British imperial ideology; Julius Caesar; Antony and Cleopatra; Tempest

Article.  9067 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Shakespeare Studies and Criticism

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