PG TRB – John Dryden’s All For Love

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Unit II – Jacobean Age (1600-1798)


John Dryden’s All For Love

Quick Facts:


  • Birthday: August 9, 1631
  • Nationality: British
  • Died At Age: 68
  • Born In: Northamptonshire, England
  • Famous As: Poet and Playwright
  • Family:
  • Spouse/Ex-: Lady Elizabeth
  • Father: Erasmus Dryden
  • Mother: Mary Pickering
  • Died On: May 12, 1700
  • Place of Death: London, England
  • Epitaphs: Here Lies Du Vall; Reader, If Male Thou Art,, Look To Thy Purse; If Female, To Thy Heart.



A great playwright, exceptional poet, fine translator, solid critic, and an excellent satirist, John Dryden wore many hats during his living. He was a legendary figure of the seventeenth century who ranks amongst the greatest English poets such as John Donne and John Milton and the greatest playwrights such as William Shakespeare and Ben Johnson. As far as prose, literary criticism and translation are concerned, he had no peers who matched his capability and competence. Dryden is credited with writing the greatest heroic play of the century, ‘The Conquest of Granada’, the greatest tragicomedy, ‘Marriage A-la-Mode’, the greatest tragedy of the Restoration, ‘All for Love’, the greatest comitragedy, ‘Don Sebastian’ and one of the greatest comedies, ‘Amphitryon’. His writing style was unique, mostly employing the daily patterns and rhythms used in everyday speech. His works so much so dominated the Restoration Period that the phase is proudly remembered in the literary circle as the ‘Age of Dryden’.


Childhood & Early Life

  • John Dryden was the eldest of the fourteen children born to Erasmus Dryden and wife Mary Pickering in the village church house of Aldwincle near Thrapston in Northamptonshire.
  • Young Dryden spent much of his early days in the village of Titchmarsh, Northamptonshire, wherein he received his preliminary education. Later in 1644, he was enrolled as a King’s Scholar at the Westminster School, which was going through a period of unrest on religious and political matters.
  • It was at Westminster that he developed the art of rhetoric and presentation of both sides of the argument, a skill that stayed with him for life and influenced much of his later works and thinking.
  • In 1649, while still at Westminster, he came up with his first published verse, an elegy titled, ‘Upon the Death of Lord Hastings’. Having a royalist feel, the poem was a written emotional tale of the death of his schoolmate Henry, Lord Hastings from smallpox.
  • Upon completing his studies, he entered the Trinity College, in Cambridge the following year in 1650. Therein, he took to studying classics, rhetoric and mathematics. Four years later, he graduated with top ranks from the college with a degree in arts.


  • Following his father’s death in June 1654, he acquired possession of a land that generated some income, but not enough to sustain a living. As such, he moved to London to acquire work with Cromwell’s Secretary of State, John Thurloe.
  • In 1658, on the death of Lord Protector Cromwell, he penned a poem ‘Heroique Stanzas’ a tribute to Cromwell. The content of the poem was cautiously written with prudent emotional presentation.
  • Two years later, he celebrated the Restoration of the Monarchy and the jubilant return of Charles II with the penned verse, ‘Astraea Redux’ which was an authentic royalist panegyric. He portrayed a royal image of Charles II as the restorer of peace and order.
  • The establishment of the monarchy coincided with his establishment as the leading poet and critic of the time. He rendered his complete support, loyalty and commitment to the new government which was visible with the publication of his works, ‘To His Sacred Majesty: A Panegyric on his Coronation’ and ‘To My Lord Chancellor’ both released in 1662.
  • It was while looking to court a patron that he started to make a living by writing for publishers and the general public instead for the aristocrats and the royalties. He started writing poems that celebrated public events.
  • In 1662, he was elected as an early fellow of the Royal Society. However, the membership was withdrawn four years later due to non-payment of the dues.
  • With the appointment of Charles II as the leader, society witnessed an upsurge in the demand for entertainment and showbiz. The theatres, which had closed down due to the Puritan ban, reopened to packed audiences.
  • He soon found himself busy writing scripts and plays for theatre. His first stint at the same was for the theatrical comedy of humors, ‘A Wild Gallant’. The play was not much successful and did nothing to up his reputation.
  • Following the unsuccessful debut venture, in 1664 he came up with two more plays, ‘The Rival Ladies’ and ‘The Indian Queen’. Both the plays had the same fate as their predecessor and were not major hits.
  • Meanwhile, a plague erupted in London due to which the King’s Court relocated to Oxford. The change of place turned profitable for this budding playwright who came up with his next venture, a heroic drama by the title, ‘The Indian Emperor’ in 1665. The play was received well by the audience.
  • Writing theatrical plays was not what he intended to do in the beginning and as such, thought it to be waste of talent on ‘unworthy’ audience. As such, to gain some fame outside the stage, he took to writing poetry and essays.
  • Inspired by the tragedies of the year 1666, including the Naval War and the Great Fire of London, he penned the poem, ‘Annus Mirabilis’ in 1667. The poem was grandly received and secured him the title of Poet Laureate in 1668 and Historiographer Royal in 1670. Same year, he was conferred with an MA by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
  • He did not let go of his essay writing as well and in 1668 came up with his first major critical work, ‘Essay of Dramatic Poesy’. Following the grand reception of the same, he released ‘A Defence of an Essay’ which was followed by ‘Essay of Heroic Plays’.
  • Apart from penning poems and essays, he continued with his theatrical writing and came up with well-received plays in varying genres. While ‘Secret Love’ was based on the genre of comedy, ‘Tyrannic Love’ explored heroic drama. Beginning 1670, he came up with the two parts ‘The Conquest of Granada’ and the comedy, ‘Marriage a la Mode’.
  • In 1674, he wrote a tribute for Milton in the form of a musical adaptation of the latter’s Paradise Lost entitled, ‘The State of Innocence’. However, the play remained unperformed.
  • In 1676, he penned his best heroic play, ‘Aureng-Zebe’ which had a prologue that denounced the use of rhyme in serious drama. He followed it up with his magnum opus, ‘All For Love’ in 1678 which was based on the story of Anthony and Cleopatra.
  • His glorified success and fame was not well received by many who plotted against him, which led to him being attacked in an alley near his home in Covent Garden. It is speculated that Lord Rochester hired John Wilmot for the attack.
  • From 1678 to 1681, he came up with several dramas including the prose comedy, ‘Limberham’, adaptation of ‘Troilus and Cressida’ and the play ‘Spanish Fair’ However, none of them were successful which led him o give up as a dramatist and instead concentrated towards satire.
  • In 1681, he came out with the political satire on Monmouth and Shaftesbury, Absalom and Achitophel. Despite being his first attempt at satirical writing, it went on to become the greatest English satires of all time. Since the work favoured Charles II and attacked the Whigs, it drew support from the royalist and the aristocrats as well.
  • Following year, he came up with a sequel of his first satirical work, this time in collaboration with Nahum Tate, Second Part of Absalom and Achitophel. Same year, he attacked Shaftesbury supporters with his work entitled, ‘The Medal’.
  • Alongside satirical work, he built his interest in theology and came with his first venture in the genre titled, ‘Religio Laici’. Translated as ‘A Layman’s Faith’ the work argued Christianity over Deism
  • His later works include the poems, ‘Threnodia Augustalis’, ‘To the Pious Memory … of Mrs Anne Killigrew’ and ‘A Song for Saint Cecilia’s Day’.
  • The Revolution of 1688 resulted in ascendance of William III to the throne. Following this turn of events, he faced a major downfall as he was not only deprived of his laureateship, but replaced by his old enemy, Shadwell.
  • During the later years, he survived a living by translating the works of Horace, Juvenal, Ovid, Lucretius, and Theocritus. His work involved making classic English literary work accessible and readable to the general public. His most ambitious project as a translator was released in 1697 under the title, ‘The Works of Virgil’ and in 1700 as ‘Fables Ancient and Modern’.


Personal Life & Legacy:

  • He tied the nuptial knot with Lady Elizabeth, royalist sister of Sir Robert Howard. The couple was blessed with three children, all sons.
  • He breathed his last on May 12, 1700. Initially buried in St Anne’s Cemetery, he was later reburied in Westminster Abbey ten days later.

All for Love by John Dryden

Key Facts about All For Love:


  • Full Title: All For Love
  • When Written: 1677
  • Where Written: London, England
  • When Published: 1678
  • Literary Period: Restoration
  • Genre: Drama, Tragedy
  • Setting: Ancient Egypt
  • Climax: Antony and Cleopatra commit suicide, thus inaugurating the beginning of the Roman Empire and the end of the Roman Republic.
  • Antagonist: Octavius.



All For Love begins with John Dryden’s dedication of the play to an aristocratic patron, Thomas Osborne. He praises Osborne for his loyalty to the crown during the English Civil War. This praise leads Dryden to a larger consideration of the merits of the English constitutional monarchy, which he calls the best form of government in the world. Dryden thinks that all attempts at “reform” are dangerous, since any rebellion strikes at “the root of power, which is obedience.”


Dryden then writes a preface about the play itself. The story of Antony and Cleopatrahas been “oft told,” most famously by William Shakespeare, but Dryden has made some changes. For instance, he has invented new characters and scripted a fictional meeting between Cleopatra and Octavia, Antony’s Roman wife. He explains that Antony and Cleopatra are appealing protagonists because they are neither wholly good nor evil.

Historical Context of All For Love:

The English Civil War dominated political, religious, and cultural life in England in the middle of the seventeenth century. During the late 1630s and early 1640s, King Charles I experienced increasing tensions with his Parliament. In 1642, a republican Puritan faction in Parliament took power and banned theater on the grounds that it was immoral. In 1649, after years of fighting between republican and royalist forces, King Charles I was executed. Following eighteen years of republican rule, his son King Charles II returned to the throne in 1660. That same year, the theaters reopened. Thus, the “Restoration” of Charles II was also a restoration of English drama. Dryden became a fierce royalist after the Restoration, and for the rest of his life he remained wary of the dangers of rebellion, civil war, and threats to hierarchical authority—a political stance reflected in All For Love.


Other Books Related to All For Love:

All For Love is a play typical of the literary period known as “Restoration drama”—which is to say, plays written between 1660 and 1700. Restoration drama was notably different from earlier English drama in several important ways. For one, women were allowed to act on the English stage for the first time. The Restoration period also saw the rise of women playwrights like Aphra Behn, whose most celebrated play was The Rover (1677), a comedy of manners involving the sexual and romantic lives of a group of banished royalist noblemen. Her work is characteristic of the Restoration period in its emphasis on raunchy dialogue and sexually explicit content, themes that also typify other well-known Restoration plays like George Etherege’s The Man of Mode (1676) and William Wycherley’s The Country Wife (1675). But if Restoration comedy frequently focused on rakes, virgins, unfaithful wives, and other stock types, Restoration tragedy—the sort of play that Dryden was writing—was serious and aimed to imitate European models. Dryden was very influenced by French tragedy, which he alternatively admired and rebelled against in his own writing. Jean Racine’s Phèdre (1677) opened shortly before All For Love and has much in common with it: both plays are five-act tragedies set in the ancient world that feature a woman protagonist who dies by her own hand. Dryden implicitly aimed many critiques at Racine in his preface to his own play. He complained of “dull” French playwrights who are too careful not to offend anyone, and criticized the character of Hippolytus in Phèdre, who in Dryden’s view is so concerned with “decorum” and good manners that he becomes ridiculous.

Finally, All For Love is in many ways a self-conscious imitation of an older play: William Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. Dryden greatly admired Shakespeare, whom he called a genius. However, this didn’t stop him from making significant changes to Shakespeare’s version of the story. Unlike Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, All For Love is set entirely in Egypt rather than Rome and focuses narrowly on the romantic lives of its two protagonists, including an invented love triangle featuring a new character, Dollabella. In this sense, the play is much more a romantic tragedy than Shakespeare’s political drama.

Character list:


Mark Antony:

Mark Antony, a Roman triumvirate who, in his role of leader, is caught between concern for his people and his love for a woman. Antony shows various human traits as he tries to recapture his position of leadership against invading forces, as he accepts the friendship of his faithful officers, as he considers reconciliation with his wife and family, as he is duped by clever antagonistic individuals, and as he is shown incapable of adapting to these various relationships because of his devotion to Cleopatra, his mistress. Not strong enough or discerning enough to determine her motives, Antony dies a failure.


Cleopatra is the queen of Egypt and mistress of Antony. Steadfast in her love, as she convinces him before his death, she is deluded by some of her servants and shows the vulnerability of the great at the hands of the crafty. Cleopatra is victorious over her peers, in that she averts Antony’s return to his family. She takes her life to avoid the celebration of victory over Antony’s troops, a defeat that prompts Antony’s suicide. Cleopatra glories in imminent death as the poison of the asp she has applied to her arm flows through her body.


Alexas is Cleopatra’s eunuch, opposed to his queen’s and Antony’s love. Scheming Alexas uses flattery, chicanery, and lies to influence people. Knowing that Antony’s troops are about to be attacked, he encourages the troops to celebrate in honor of Antony’s birthday. Learning that Antony has been persuaded by his own officers to defend his position, Alexas connives to have Antony intercepted by Cleopatra as he leaves the city. Alexas also conspires to arouse Antony’s jealousy and to cast doubt on Cleopatra’s fidelity, and he lies when he tells Antony that Cleopatra has taken her life. Alexas is brought to justice for his perfidy.


Ventidius  is Antony’s general and faithful follower. Seeing through Alexas’ devices, he is able to circumvent some of the disaster intended for his leader. Doubting Cleopatra’s motives, Ventidius tries to divert Antony’s attention from her. Although he is discerning, Ventidius becomes the tool of Alexas in one of his tricks. Feeling that he has unwittingly betrayed his leader, he tries to make amends too late. Ventidius takes his own life when he sees Antony dying.



Dolabella  is  Antony’s friend, who, although faithful, is banished because Antony fears that Cleopatra may fall in love with the handsome young Roman. Dolabella, dedicated to the Roman cause, attempts a reconciliation between Antony and his family. His affinity to Rome and Antony are reflected also in his willingness to see Cleopatra and to say farewell to her for Antony, who, realizing his lack of will, does not see his mistress before he attempts to renew his fight against the invaders. Dolabella’s effort to serve is in vain: Antony believes, despite their denials, that Cleopatra and his young follower are in love.


She is Antony’s wife and sister to Octavius, another of the triumvirate. Although she is a woman of charm and determination, Octavia is no match for Cleopatra in the fight for Antony’s love. Octavia’s announcement that Octavius will withdraw his army if Octavia and Antony are reunited and the sight of his two daughters cause Antony to give serious consideration to reconciliation, but his contemplation is relatively short-lived. Octavia accepts the failure of her mission and returns to the Roman camp.



Charmion and Iras:

They are Cleopatra’s maids. Loyal to their queen, they are frequent emissaries to Antony in behalf of Cleopatra. Unwilling to face life without her, Charmion and Iras follow the queen’s example and allow themselves to be bitten by the asp that already has poisoned her.


Serapion is a priest of Isis. Although involved in the action of the play, he is principally a spokesman for the author. He opens the play with an announcement of the ill omens and what they portend for Egypt; he also speaks last in pronouncing the valediction over Antony and Cleopatra.

Agrippina and Antonia:

They are Antony and Octavia’s daughters. Their appearance before their father and their delight in seeing him move him momentarily to consider returning to his family.


He is another priest. He discusses with Serapion the events that bode no good.

Brief Summary:

After his humiliating defeat at Actium, Mark Antony retires to Alexandria, Egypt, where he remains in seclusion for some time in the temple of Isis. He avoids meeting his mistress, Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt, whose cowardice largely caused the defeat. Meanwhile the Romans, under Octavius, Maecenas, and Agrippa, have invaded Egypt, where, having laid siege to Alexandria, they calmly await Antony’s next move. Serapion, a patriot and a priest of Isis, becomes alarmed at a sudden rising of the Nile and by prodigious disturbances among the royal tombs; these events seem to presage disaster for Egypt.

Ventidius, Antony’s trusted and highly successful general in the Middle East, comes at this time to Alexandria to aid his commander. Alexas, Cleopatra’s loyal, scheming eunuch, and Serapion try to encourage citizens and troops with a splendid birthday festival in Antony’s honor. Ventidius, in Roman fashion, scorns the celebration. He tells Antony’s Roman soldiers not to rejoice, but to prepare to defend Antony in his peril. Antony, clearly a ruined man, at last comes out of his seclusion. While he curses his fate and laments the day that he was born, Ventidius, in concealment, overhears the pitiful words of his emperor. Revealing his presence, he attempts to console Antony. Both men weep; Antony marvels that Ventidius can remain faithful to a leader who brought a large part of the Roman Empire to ruin through his love for Cleopatra.

Ventidius offers to Antony his twelve legions, which are stationed in Lower Syria, but his stipulation that these legions will not fight for Cleopatra plunges doting Antony into renewed gloom. When Ventidius mentions the name of Cleopatra lightly, Antony takes offense and curses the general as a traitor. After this insult Antony, his mind filled with misgivings, guilt, and indecision, hastens to assure Ventidius of his love for him. He promises to leave Cleopatra to join the legions in Syria.

The word that Antony is preparing to desert her leaves Cleopatra in a mood of anger and despair. Meanwhile Charmion, her maid, goes to Antony and begs the Roman to say farewell to her mistress. Antony refuses, saying that he does not trust himself in Cleopatra’s presence. Not daunted by this refusal, Alexas later intercepts Antony as he marches out of Alexandria. The eunuch flatters the Romans and presents them with rich jewels from Cleopatra. As Antony is with difficulty clasping a bracelet around his arm, Cleopatra makes her prepared appearance. Antony bitterly accuses her of falseness and of being the cause of his downfall. The two argue. In desperation, Cleopatra tells Antony that as her friend he must go to Syria, but that as her lover he must stay in Alexandria to share her fate. Antony wavers in his determination to leave when Cleopatra tells him that she spurned Octavius’s offer of all Egypt and Syria if she would join his forces, and he elects to stay when she represents herself as a weak woman left to the mercy of the cruel invaders. Antony declares, in surrendering again to Cleopatra’s charms, that Octavius could have the world as long as he had Cleopatra’s love. Ventidius is overcome with shame and pity at Antony’s submission.

Cleopatra is triumphant in her renewed power over Antony, and Antony seems to have recovered some of his former magnificence when he is successful in minor engagements against the troops of Octavius. While Octavius, biding his time, holds his main forces in check, Ventidius, still hopeful of saving Antony, suggests that a compromise might be arranged with Maecenas or with Agrippa.

Dolabella, the friend whom Antony banishes because he fears that Cleopatra might grow to love the young Roman, comes from Octavius’s camp to remind Antony that he has obligations toward his wife and two daughters. Then Octavia and her two young daughters are brought before Antony, Octavia, in spite of Antony’s desertion, still hopes for reconciliation with her husband. When Antony accuses her of bargaining with her brother Octavius, Octavia, undismayed, admits that Octavius is prepared to withdraw from Egypt at the news that a reconciliation has been effected between his sister and Antony. Octavia’s calm dignity affects Antony greatly, and when his two small daughters embrace him, he declares himself ready to submit to the will of Octavia. Cleopatra, entering upon this family reunion, exchanges insults with the momentarily triumphant Octavia.

Still afraid to face Cleopatra for the last time, Antony prevails upon Dolabella to speak his farewell to Cleopatra. Dolabella, aspiring to Cleopatra’s favors, accepts the mission with pleasure. Alexas, knowing of Dolabella’s weakness and ever solicitous of the welfare of Egypt, advises Cleopatra to excite Antony’s jealousy by pretending to be interested in Dolabella.After Ventidius and Octavia secretly overhear the conversation between Dolabella and Cleopatra, Ventidius, now unwittingly a tool of Alexas, reports to Antony Cleopatra’s apparent interest in the young Dolabella. Octavia confirms his report, and Alexas suggests to the raging Antony that Cleopatra is capable of perfidy. Antony’s passionate reaction to this information convinces Octavia that her mission is a failure and she returns to the Roman camp. Antony, meanwhile, accuses Cleopatra and Dolabella of treachery. Ignoring their earnest denials, he banishes them from his presence.

Cleopatra, cursing the eunuch’s ill advice, attempts unsuccessfully to take her own life with a dagger. Antony ascends a tower in Alexandria harbor to watch an impending naval engagement between the Egyptian and Roman fleets. To his horror he sees the two fleets join and the entire force advance to attack the city. Antony realizes now that his end is near; furthermore, his heart is broken by the belief that Cleopatra is responsible for the treachery of the Egyptian fleet.When Alexas brings false word that Cleopatra retired to her tomb and took her life, Antony, no longer desiring to live, falls on his own sword. The faithful Ventidius kills himself. Cleopatra comes to the dying Antony and convinces him, before he dies, that she remained steadfast in her love for him. Then, to cheat Octavius of a final triumph, she dresses in her royal robes and permits herself to be bitten by a poisonous asp. Her maids, Iras and Charmion, kill themselves in the same manner. Serapion enters to find Cleopatra joined with her Antony in death.

Detailed Summary:

Antony, who along with Octavius Caesar (the brother of his wife Octavia) has defeated Brutus and Cassius (who murdered Julius Caesar), is now on bad terms with Caesar as he loves Cleopatra (the ruler of Egypt) and for her sake he has abandoned his wife (sister of Octavius) and daughters. Caesar (the ruler of Roman Empire) now wants to take revenge from Antony. For years Antony is living in Egypt with his beloved Cleopatra and is quite happy with his life. However when the play opens, we find that he is quite sorrowful and depressed.


The Play opens with the discussion of some citizens of Egypt. Serapion tells his fellows about the queer supernatural incidents that he witnessed last night. Alexas, the eunuch, who is in the service of Cleopatra comes to them and scolds Serapion for telling his cooked dreams to others and warns him from doing so. Ventidius, a Roman knight comes. Alexas recognise him and tells the citizens that though he hates Ventidius, yet it cannot be denied that he is of the bravest Romans.

As Alexas sees Ventidius approaching to him, he announces that Egypt will celebrate Antony’s birthday with great pump and show. Ventidius is displeased with Alexas announcement as Antony’s life is in danger and Egyptians are celebrating his suffering. Ventidius goes to Alexas and abuses Cleopatra as “she has quite unmanned him (Antony)”. He says that Antony was a brave soldier but Cleopatra has made him useless with her false love.

Ventidius then asks about Antony and is told that he is quite depressed and does not meet anybody. He also comes to know that Antony has not eaten anything for days. Ventidius, being a close friend of Antony, goes to him. Antony first repels him but when Ventidius weeps, he feels pity and both are reconciled.

Ventidius praises his chivalry and asks him to accompany him to River Nile where 10,000 brave soldiers are waiting for him so that he may command them to fight against Caesar. Antony first denies his proposal but at last agrees to quit Egypt. Ventidius talks bad about Cleopatra saying that she has ruined his life. Antony doesn’t like words against Cleopatra and asks him to prevent such statements. However he agrees to leave her for the sake of honour.


Alexas has informed Cleopatra about the discussion of Antony and Ventidius. Cleopatra becomes sorrowful. Charamion enters and tells about the current situation. Cleopatra asks him about the behaviour of Antony. Charamion assures her that Antony is as sorrowful as she is. Alexas tell Cleopatra a plan by which Antony will probably change his mind. Meanwhile Antony and Ventidius ridicule and laugh at the cowardice of Octavius Ceasar. Alexas enter and tell Antony that Cleopatra has prayed for him and also given some gifts as a token of her love.

Saying this he distributes bracelets to the soldiers. Ventidius calling them “poisoned gifts” rejects them and says, “I’m not ashamed of honest poverty; nor all the diamonds of the east can bribe Ventidius from his faith.” Antony, in spite of Ventidius’s disapproval, accepts the gift but is unable to wear it. Cleopatra enters. Antony starts blaming her as because of her, his first wife died and he left Octavia (his 2nd wife; the sister of Octavius Caesar) and because of it Caesar has waged war against him.

He also reminds her of the last battle in which she left him alone in the battlefield and she ran away. He also tells her that she was the mistress of Julius Caesar and still he accepted her. Cleopatra, to defend herself first tells him that though she had given her body to Julius Caesar, she gave her soul to Antony and also shows a page to him on which a message is written which Antony recognises as the writing of Octavius Caesar.

Antony reads the message and comes to know that Caesar had offered Cleopatra her full safety if she would have handed over Antony to him. Antony melts. Alexas exclaims, “He melts, we conquer.” Antony and Cleopatra are reconciled. Ventidius, being annoyed and helpless, goes away saying, “O women! Women! All the gods have not such power of doing good to man, as you of doing harm.”



Antony and Cleopatra are enjoying the pleasures of love. Both praise each other. Antony says, “In thy embrace, I would be beheld by heaven and earth at once.” Ventidius enters. Antony wants to leave unnoticed but Ventidius catches hold of him. Antony requests him not to repeat the past statements again and tells Ventidius that he has killed 5000 Romans (of Octavius Caesar).

Ventidius says that Octavius is not short of army and danger stills prevails over them. Antony tells him that he had a close friend (Dolabella) in the army of Caesar. But now they (Antony and Dolabella) are not on good terms as someday in the past, Dolabella fell in love with Cleopatra and Antony made him to leave Egypt. Ventidius then brings Dolabella. Both Dolebella and Antony explain how much they missed each other. Now Ventidius and Dolabella criticize Antony for being a servant of Cleopatra and remind him of Octavia. They tell him that he should reconcile with Octavia and thus the danger of Caesar will wither away. Ventidius brings Octavia and her daughters with him.

Antony remains cold to them. Dolabella and Ventidius scold him for his behaviour and force him to accept his wife and daughters. Antony at last accepts them and once again agrees to quit Egypt. Meanwhile Cleopatra is informed about the reconciliation of Antony and Octavia and becomes sorrowful. Alexas once again ensures her that Antony will change his decision. Octavia enters and both the ladies indulge in a heated discussion over Antony. Octavia goes away and Cleopatra fears that she will lose Antony.


Antony persuades Dolabella to bid his goodbye to Cleopatra as he lacks courage to do so. Dolabella refuses but when Antony insists, he agrees at last. Dolabella while going to Cleopatra thinks of deceiving his friend by proposing Cleopatra. Meanwhile Alexas persuades Cleopatra to show Antony that she loves Dolabella and out of jealousy, Antony will return back to her. Dolabella enters and tells falsely to Cleopatra that Antony has talked bad of her. She faints.

Dolabella repents over his lie and tells Cleopatra the truth and Cleopatra also tells him the real motive of showing sympathy to him (to make Antony jealous). Ventidius and Octavia hearing some part of their discussion assume that they (Cleopatra and Dolabella) have fell in love with each other and meeting Antony inform him about it. Antony does not believe them. Ventidius in order to prove his statement brings Alexas, who gives his consent to Ventidius and Octavia. Antony is quite enraged. A little later, Dolabella and Cleopatra enter, who are unaware of the situation. Antony blames both of them for being deceitful. They protest but Antony dominates. Both go away sorrowfully.


Cleopatra blames Alexas for brining her to such a situation and orders her to resolve the matter by himself. On the advice of Serapion, she goes to her castle to remain safe. Alexas makes a plan to save his life. He goes to Antony and tells him that Cleopatra has committed suicide. Antony recognises the innocence of Cleopatra and considers the world and the kingdom to be useless for him without her. He asks Ventidius to kill him. But Ventidius instead kills himself. Antony hits himself with his sword and is badly wounded but not yet dead. Meanwhile Cleopatra becomes aware of the words spoken by Alexas to Antony and rushes to Antony. Both reconcile. Antony dies in her lap. A little later Cleopatra dies in the arms of Antony by making a snake to bite her. Egypt is conquered by Caesar.








John Dryden’s  All for Love

  • Who first used the term ‘Metaphysics’? (PG – 2015)

      (A) John Donne           (B) Dryden                  (C) Milton                    (D) T.S.Eliot


  • Dryden’s ‘An Essay on Dramatic Poesie’ is cast in the form of ___________________
    (PG -2003, PG – 2015)

      (A) Poem                     (B) Address                 (C) Play                       (D) Dialogue


  • Dryden admires ____________ but he loves Shakespeare. (PG – 2015)

      (A) Pope                      (B) Virgil                     (C) Milton                    (D) Jonson


  • Who among the following writers was a member of the royal society which was founded in 1662 to fix English spelling? (PG – 2015)

      (A) Beckett                   (B) James Boswell       (C) Skinner                  (D) Dryden


  • Who used the term ‘biography’ for the first time? (AEEO – 2012)

      (A) Dr.Johnson           (B) Carlye                   (C) Dryden                  (D) Boswell


  • “The true end of satire is the amendment of vices by correction”. This observation is by ____________ (BRTE – 2008)

      (A) Dryden                  (B) Pope                      (C) Swift                      (D) Sidney


  • Restoration enthroned ___________ (BRTE – 2008)

      (A) James I                  (B) Charles I               (C) Charles II             (D) James II


  • ‘A Song for St.Cecilia’s Day’ is written by ____________ (BRTE – 2010, BRTE – 2005)

      (A) Shakespeare          (B) Milton                    (C) John Donne          (D) John Dryden


  • What is the other name given to the play ‘All for Love’ by John Dryden? (PG – 2013)

      (A) As You Like it        (B) World Well Lost     (C) All is Well              (D) Life for Love


  • John Dryden was an excellent practitioner in ___________ (AEEO – 2010)

      (A) Blank Verse                                               (B) Heroic Couplet     

      (C) Epic Style                                                  (D) Dramatic Monologue


  • The theatres were closed in England in the year _________ (BRTE – 2005)

      (A) 1066                      (B) 1654                      (C) 1660                      (D) 1642


  • The great fire of London occurred in the year _________ (BRTE – 2006)

      (A) 1664                      (B) 1665                      (C) 1666                      (D) 1667


  • The Age of Dryden is called _______________ (SET – 2012)

      (A) the Romantic Age                                      (B) the Elizabethan Age

      (C) the Victorian Age                                      (D) the Augustan Age


  • Restoration Period marks the restoration of: (NET – J2006)

      (A) women’s rights      (B) democracy             C) monarchy               (D) human rights


  • Who else of the following is called the Father of English Criticism? (SET – 2012)

      (A) Dr. Johnson          (B) John Dryden         (C) Longinus               (D) Mathew Arnold

  • To whom did Dryden dedicate his All for Love ?

(A) Earl of York           (B) Earl of Danby       (C) Charles II              (D) His wife

  • Who narrate the ominous portents in the opening scene of All for Love ?

            (A) Antony and Cleopatra                               (B) Alexas nd Iras

            (C) Serapion and Myris                                   (D) Ventidius and Iras

  • Who was Antony’s first wife ?

            (A) Octavia                  (B) Fulvia                    (C) Cleopatra              (D) Gracia

  • In which battle did Cleopatra abandon Antony ?

            (A) Phillipi                   (B) Actium                   (C) Athens                   (D) Alexandria

  • Who are ready to follow Antony if he gives up Cleopatra ?

            (A) Merchants in Rome                                   (B) Soliders In Lower Syria

            (C) Alexandrian soliders                                 (D) Octavius Caesar

  • Who kisses the hand of Cleopatra ?

      (A) Dollabella             (B) Ventidius               (C) Octavius Caesar   (D) Lepidus

  • Whom did Antony ask to stab him to death ?

            (A) Dollabella             (B) Ventidius               (C) Octavius Caesar   (D) Lepidus


  • Who has suggested the sub title of All for the Love ?

            (A) Congreve               (B) Eliot                       (C) Cassandra             (D) Castlemaine


  • Which of the following is defined as a heroic tragedy in blank verse ?

            (A) Samson Agonistes                                     (B) All for Love

            (C) Tom Jones                                                 (D) Macbeth

  • What is the first drama in blank verse written by Dryden ?

            (A) Spanish Friar        (B) Don Sebastian       (C) All for Love           (D) Love Triumphant


  • The other title given by Dryden for ‘All for Love’ is __________

      (A) Antony and Cleopatra                               (B) Loves Labour Lost

      (C) The World Well Lost                                 (D) The Conquest of Granada


  • __________ is a eunuch serving under Cleopatra.

      (A) Alexas                    (B) Serapion                (C) Charmion              (D) Dolabella



  • Which bird does Antony compare Octavius to?

      (A) eagle                      (B) ostrich                   (C) wren                      (D) owl


  • To whom does Antony compare himself after he won a battle against Octavius?

            (A) Samson                  (B) Hercules                (C) Atlas                      (D) Ulysses


  • Who wants to establish peace between Antony and Octavius?

      (A) Ventidius               (B) Serapion                (C) Dolabella              (D) Alexas


  • To whom does Antony ask to stab him to death?

      (A) Ventidius               (B) Alexas                    (C) Serapion                (D) Octavius


  • Who says, “No lovers so great, or died so well”?

      (A) Myris                     (B) Dolabella              (C) Serapion                (D) Antony


  • Dryden’s ‘All for Love’ was published in __________

      (A) 1678                      (B) 1682                      (D) 1686                      (D) 1688


  • Who is Ventidius in the play?

      (A) The old general of Antony                         (B) Servant of Cleopatra

      (C)Brother of Cleopatra                                  (D) The old general of Octavius


  • The Romans camp all around Alexandria under the leadership of _________

      (A) Octavius Caesar                                        (B) Antony

      (C) Dolabella                                                  (D) Octavius


  • Who informs Serpion that Ventidius is deadly enemy of Egypt and that coming is not good sign?

      (A) Alexas                    (B) Antony                   (C) Dolabella              (D) Octavius



  • Who Serapion in the play?

      (A) Priest                     (B) Soldier                   (C) General                 (D) Doctor


  • Charmion and Iras are the __________ in the paly?

      (A) Maids of Cleopatra                                   (B) Doctors

      (C) Teachers                                                   (D) Soldiers of Cleopatra


  • “But I have lost my reason, have disgraced”. Who says to whom?

      (A) Ventidius to Antony                                   (B) Antony to Ventidius

      (C) Alexas to Serapion                                    (D) Cleopatra to Alexas


  • Who is conflict between his passion for Cleopatra and the pressure of others?

      (A) Julius Caesar                                            (B) Dolabella

      (C) Octavius Caesar                                       (D) Antony










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