Antony and Cleopatra

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Mark Antony Character Analysis

One of the title characters of the play, Antony is a powerful Roman who is a member of the so-called second triumvirate, the group of three men who controlled Rome in the late first century BCE following the assassination of Julius Caesar. (The other two members are Octavius and Lepidus.) When the play begins, Antony has neglected his duties in Rome (as well as his wife Fulvia) to cavort with Cleopatra in Egypt. He often seems to be under the control of Cleopatra, something his soldiers worry about, and this perhaps contributes to his defeat at the hands of Octavius—it is because he is following Cleopatra, after all, that he flees from the naval battle near Actium. However, he becomes frustrated with Cleopatra after this loss, and even blames it on her. He remains deeply devoted to her, though: when Cleopatra sends word to him that she has killed herself (falsely), he resolves to do the same. Thus, while he is defeated by Octavius in battle, it is Cleopatra who (unwittingly) causes his death.

Mark Antony Quotes in Antony and Cleopatra

The Antony and Cleopatra quotes below are all either spoken by Mark Antony or refer to Mark Antony. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Love, Pleasure, and Decadence Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Simon & Schuster edition of Antony and Cleopatra published in 2005.
Act 1, Scene 1 Quotes

Nay, but this dotage of our general's
O'erflows the measure: those his goodly eyes,
That o'er the files and musters of the war
Have glow'd like plated Mars, now bend, now turn,
The office and devotion of their view
Upon a tawny front: his captain's heart,
Which in the scuffles of great fights hath burst
The buckles on his breast, reneges all temper,
And is become the bellows and the fan
To cool a gipsy's lust.

Related Characters: Philo (speaker), Mark Antony, Cleopatra
Page Number: 1.1.1-10
Explanation and Analysis:

Two soldiers gossip about Mark Antony's overpowering love for Cleopatra, noting how he has turned away from war and honor, and now seeks only to satisfy his queen. They also demean Cleopatra in distinctly racist and sexist terms, calling her a "tawny" "gipsy" and referring to her "lust," while bemoaning the fact that Antony used to be godlike, yet now has become a slave to passion and a foreign woman.

From the first moments of the play, it becomes clear how the general Roman public views the union of Antony and Cleopatra; they think it a disgrace, disdaining Antony for having turned his back on Rome, and despising Cleopatra for having seduced him. 

From these words, it is immediately clear just how much power Cleopatra has over Mark Antony. Although he is known as a great warrior and powerful general, he has now abandoned his "office" in favor of cavorting with Cleopatra. The soldiers' former reverence for Antony makes their current contempt for him all the more striking and dramatic. 

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Let Rome in Tiber melt, and the wide arch
Of the ranged empire fall! Here is my space.

Related Characters: Mark Antony (speaker)
Page Number: 1.1.38-39
Explanation and Analysis:

Interrupted from his time with Cleopatra by a Roman messenger, Antony makes clear his priorities: he doesn't care if the city "melt[s]" into the Tiber River, or if the empire itself "fall[s]." All he cares about is being near his beloved queen.

Antony is known in the play as a great Roman patriot--one who loves his country more than himself, and consistently prioritizes the needs of the state over his own. He has devoted his life to expanding and protecting the empire, and is now one of its three supreme leaders. Thus to hear him suddenly say that he doesn't care whether or not Rome falls is shocking for the characters around him.

This confession is particularly pleasing to Cleopatra, however. As the queen of a nation that could easily be crushed by the Roman empire, it is extremely advantageous to her to have Antony under her power. The question of how much Cleopatra loves Antony, versus how much she is using him for her own political gain, will remain ambiguous throughout the play. 

Act 1, Scene 2 Quotes

These strong Egyptian fetters I must break,
Or lose myself in dotage.

Related Characters: Mark Antony (speaker), Mark Antony, Cleopatra
Page Number: 1.2.128-129
Explanation and Analysis:

Having heard a great deal of bad news from Rome, Mark Antony realizes that he must leave Cleopatra in order to attend to his duties and affairs. He refers to his bond with her as "fetters," as if he is his lover's slave or prisoner, and worries that he will "lose" himself if he stays longer.

This comment shows that Mark Antony understands a great deal more about his situation than he initially lets on. First of all, he is fully aware of how much control he has given Cleopatra within their relationship. He is wholly under her influence, but is also aware of that fact. Second, Antony is aware that he is jeopardizing his very identity as a Roman leader and patriot by remaining in Egypt. The longer he neglects his duties, the more his reputation and his place in the world are at risk. 

This quote perfectly sets up the conflict between love and duty that will torture and finally destroy Antony throughout the play. 

Act 1, Scene 3 Quotes

See where he is, who's with him, what he does:
I did not send you: if you find him sad,
Say I am dancing; if in mirth, report
That I am sudden sick: quick, and return.

Related Characters: Cleopatra (speaker), Mark Antony
Page Number: 1.3.3-6
Explanation and Analysis:

Unable to find Antony, Cleopatra orders her servants to seek him out, and to fool him when they find him by lying about her own emotional condition.

As is so often the case with Cleopatra, this command is a highly complex one. On one hand, Cleopatra is clearly manipulating Antony, controlling his every move and emotion in order to keep him under her influence. On the other hand, Cleopatra's words are also those of an obsessive lover who feels neglected and jealous.

This mixture of love and strategy sits at the heart of Cleopatra's character. She thinks of the two as interchangeable, and it is often impossible for her (or her audience) to determine which is which. As a female leader in a man's world, she has learned to use every tactic at her disposal in order to retain her power and autonomy. 

Act 1, Scene 4 Quotes

This is the news: he fishes, drinks, and wastes
The lamps of night in revel; is not more man-like
Than Cleopatra; nor the queen of Ptolemy
More womanly than he; hardly gave audience, or
Vouchsafed to think he had partners: you shall find there
A man who is the abstract of all faults
That all men follow.

Related Characters: Octavius Caesar (speaker), Mark Antony, Cleopatra
Page Number: 1.4.4-11
Explanation and Analysis:

Back in Rome, Octavius Caesar is furious about Antony's neglect of his duties as a leader. He mocks the older man, noting his "revel[s]" and stating that he acts the woman while Cleopatra plays the part of a man. In short, he believes that Antony has forsaken his partners in Rome, and has given himself over completely to passion and "fault[s]."

Of all Caesar's charges, the implication that Cleopatra has unmanned Antony is by far the most interesting and serious. The world of Rome (and of Elizabethan England, when the play was written and performed) was one of strict gender roles, where men led and women followed. In Antony and Cleopatra's case, however, the positions seem to have reversed, with Cleopatra taking the dominant role in the relationship. 

For many of the characters in the play, this fact alone displays the unhealthiness and immorality of the relationship between Antony and Cleopatra. Rather than seeing Cleopatra as simply a stronger personality, they believe her to be an emasculating witch; and rather than attempt to understand Antony's love for his queen, they condemn him as a foolish weakling. 

Act 1, Scene 5 Quotes

O Charmian,
Where think'st thou he is now? Stands he, or sits he?
Or does he walk? or is he on his horse?
O happy horse, to bear the weight of Antony!

Related Characters: Cleopatra (speaker), Mark Antony, Charmian
Page Number: 1.5.22-25
Explanation and Analysis:

With Mark Antony having departed for Rome, Cleopatra longs for him, asking a series of questions about his whereabouts, and wishing to change places with his horse. Like several other passages in the play, this scene helps the audience to understand that Cleopatra does truly love Antony, albeit in a highly obsessive and controlling way. 

Her questions also point to Cleopatra's demanding and inquisitive nature. Although passionate and occasionally irrational, Cleopatra is also highly intelligent. She seeks to know about everything around her, even (in this case) minute details about Antony that the messenger cannot possibly know. 

Cleopatra's comic double entendre at the end of the passage (she wishes to "bear the weight of Antony," like his horse) also points to the character's honest relationship with her own sexuality, and to her own wit. Unlike the repressed Romans, Cleopatra is comfortable with the idea of passion and sexual appetite. At the same time, she also knows how overwhelming her desire for Antony is, and so gently mocks herself by comparing herself to a horse. 

Act 2, Scene 1 Quotes

My powers are crescent, and my auguring hope
Says it will come to the full. Mark Antony
In Egypt sits at dinner, and will make
No wars without doors: Caesar gets money where
He loses hearts: Lepidus flatters both,
Of both is flatter'd; but he neither loves,
Nor either cares for him.

Related Characters: Sextus Pompey (speaker), Mark Antony, Octavius Caesar, Lepidus
Page Number: 2.1.13-19
Explanation and Analysis:

Here Pompey, a rebel and the enemy of the co-consuls Mark Antony, Octavius Caesar, and Lepidus, discusses the situation in Rome with his generals. His comments reveal just how tangled and twisted the political reality of the Roman Empire really is right now. Pompey notes how Antony is currently wasting himself in Egypt, how Caesar is greedy and uncharismatic, and how the weak Lepidus attempts to "flatter" both other leaders, even though none of the three actually like each other.

Although Pompey is of course inclined to think of his enemies as disconnected and dysfunctional, his words still paint a troubling picture of the Roman Empire's leaders. Jealous and power-hungry men, they are supposed to rule together, and yet actually are constantly seeking to undermine each other.

In this environment, Antony's love for Cleopatra is a huge handicap. It gives him a weakness for his fellow leaders to exploit, and takes his attention away from the power games that all those around him are playing. 

Act 2, Scene 2 Quotes

To hold you in perpetual amity,
To make you brothers, and to knit your hearts
With an unslipping knot, take Antony
Octavia to his wife; whose beauty claims
No worse a husband than the best of men;
Whose virtue and whose general graces speak
That which none else can utter. By this marriage,
All little jealousies, which now seem great,
And all great fears, which now import their dangers,
Would then be nothing: truths would be tales,
Where now half tales be truths: her love to both
Would, each to other and all loves to both,
Draw after her.

Related Characters: Agrippa (speaker), Mark Antony, Octavius Caesar, Octavia
Page Number: 2.2.150-162
Explanation and Analysis:

As Mark Antony and Octavius Caesar passive aggressively trade barbs and jibes, Caesar's ally, Agrippa, suggests a solution: Antony should marry Caesar's sister, Octavia. He reminds Antony that Octavia is beautiful and virtuous, and urges both men to go ahead with the union, since it will bind the two of them together, and put to bed rumors of unrest and disunity. 

First and foremost, this suggestion shows how Roman women are considered objects in society rather than people. Octavia has no say in the matter; she is Octavius's to offer, and Antony's to accept. The Romans also place little importance on romantic love. Antony should not marry Octavia because she is lovable, but because it will be good for the Empire. Her virtue and beauty are added benefits, rather than reasons for affection.

In this dispassionate and manipulative world, it is easy to see why men like Octavius are so scared of and confused by Cleopatra. Although beautiful, she is certainly not traditionally "virtuous" and meek like Octavia. Ruled by her passions, her thirst for power, and her love of her country, she refuses to be objectified, instead making herself a player in the political sphere by whatever means necessary. 

Upon her landing, Antony sent to her,
Invited her to supper: she replied,
It should be better he became her guest;
Which she entreated: our courteous Antony,
Whom ne'er the word of 'No' woman heard speak,
Being barber'd ten times o'er, goes to the feast,
And for his ordinary pays his heart
For what his eyes eat only.

Related Characters: Enobarbus (speaker), Mark Antony, Cleopatra
Page Number: 2.2.258-265
Explanation and Analysis:

Enobarbus goes on, remembering how Antony "[i]nvited [Cleopatra] to supper" as his guest, only for the queen to reply that he should be her guest instead. Although this may seem like a minor quibble, in Enobarbus's retelling, it is the critical moment in which Cleopatra gains power over Antony. The reason? He has never before heard a woman say "No" to his requests. 

This exchange sheds even more light on why Antony has fallen so deeply in love with Cleopatra. A dominant, powerful, and handsome man, he is used to everyone--especially women--giving him exactly what he wants. In Cleopatra, however, he has found someone who will actually refuse him; a nearly unthinkable concept for the Roman general. In reversing gender roles--making Antony the submissive partner in the relationship and herself the dominant force--Cleopatra essentially wins his heart. Their love is therefore subversive not only in terms of politics, but also in terms of gender and societal expectations. 

Act 3, Scene 4 Quotes

A more unhappy lady,
If this division chance, ne'er stood between,
Praying for both parts:
The good gods me presently,
When I shall pray, 'O bless my lord and husband!'
Undo that prayer, by crying out as loud,
'O, bless my brother!' Husband win, win brother,
Prays, and destroys the prayer; no midway
'Twixt these extremes at all.

Related Characters: Octavia (speaker), Mark Antony, Octavius Caesar
Page Number: 3.4.13-21
Explanation and Analysis:

Learning that Octavius has raised an army and spoken ill of him in public, Antony grows furious, vowing to oppose his brand-new brother-in-law. Octavia begs him to modulate his anger, but her pleas are unsuccessful. After her husband leaves, she laments her fate, realizing that she will have to pray for both her husband and her brother, even though they are fighting against each other.

Octavia is a largely tragic and pathetic character in this drama. Pious, faithful, and kind, she is used as a pawn both by the brother who claims to love her, and the husband who longs to be rid of her. At this moment in time, both men have put her in an impossible situation. Their alliance is all but forgotten but she, a symbol of their former unity, is still caught in the middle. 

Act 3, Scene 6 Quotes

Octavia:
Where is he now?

Octavia:
My lord, in Athens.

Octavius:
No, my most wronged sister; Cleopatra
Hath nodded him to her. He hath given his empire
Up to a whore; who now are levying
The kings o’ the earth for war.

Related Characters: Octavius Caesar (speaker), Octavia (speaker), Mark Antony, Cleopatra
Page Number: 3.6.73-78
Explanation and Analysis:

Octavia arrives at her brother's house, believing that she can make peace between him and Mark Antony. She does not realize, however, that Antony has now returned to Cleopatra--a fact that gives her brother an excuse to go to war with Antony.

This passage reveals the true hypocrisy of Octavius Caesar. In the past, he has condemned both Antony and Cleopatra for mixing personal feelings with politics, saying that it makes them untrustworthy and immoral. In this scene, however, he is all too happy to use his sister's feelings of pain and dishonor to excuse his making war on his supposed ally and brother-in-law. 

In fact, Octavius even goes so far as to blame the coming war on Cleopatra--whom he calls a "whore"--saying that she and Antony are stirring up the "kings o' the earth for war." Yet the audience knows the truth: the calculating Octavius wants to stop sharing power with Antony, and has manipulated the situation such that he can justifiably go to war against his former friend.

Act 3, Scene 10 Quotes

She once being loof'd,
The noble ruin of her magic, Antony,
Claps on his sea-wing, and, like a doting mallard,
Leaving the fight in height, flies after her:
I never saw an action of such shame;
Experience, manhood, honour, ne'er before
Did violate so itself.

Related Characters: Scarus (speaker), Mark Antony, Cleopatra
Page Number: 3.10.22-28
Explanation and Analysis:

Antony and Cleopatra have gone to war against Octavius, culminating in the sea battle of Actium; yet at a crucial moment, Cleopatra has fled with her fleet, and Antony has followed her, leading to a huge defeat. One of Antony's soldiers comments on the chain of events, calling Antony a "mallard" (a duck) and asserting, "I never saw an action of such shame." He believes that Antony has destroyed his own "[e]xperience, manhood, [and] honour."

This assessment makes clear the potentially ruinous effects of Antony and Cleopatra's relationship. Although Antony is a seasoned soldier, he has thrown away the battle in order to follow his lover. It makes sense that a Roman soldier like Scarus would view this decision as the height of dishonor and unmanliness. Even the audience members understand just how poor a judgment this was on Antony's part, and how unwisely Cleopatra has used her power over him. 

Act 3, Scene 11 Quotes

O, whither hast thou led me, Egypt? See,
How I convey my shame out of thine eyes
By looking back what I have left behind
'Stroy'd in dishonour.

Related Characters: Mark Antony (speaker), Cleopatra
Page Number: 3.11.53-56
Explanation and Analysis:

Horrified that he has retreated from his own battle, Mark Antony now questions his own actions. He realizes that he has unwisely followed where Cleopatra led, asking where where she has led him, looking back at the men he has left behind and the lives he has destroyed with his own dishonor.

After his spur-of-the-moment decision, Antony now fully realizes what a terrible mistake he has made. He has not only lost the battle, but has also betrayed the soldiers who were loyal to him. He begs Cleopatra to tell him why she has caused this ruinous turn of events, and insults himself as shameful and dishonorable. In short, Antony believes that he has lost his manhood and his honorable identity by giving Cleopatra too much power over his decisions and his actions. 

Act 3, Scene 12 Quotes

From Antony win Cleopatra: promise,
And in our name, what she requires; add more,
From thine invention, offers: women are not
In their best fortunes strong; but want will perjure
The ne’er touch’d vestal: try thy cunning, Thidias;
Make thine own edict for thy pains, which we
Will answer as a law.

Related Characters: Octavius Caesar (speaker), Mark Antony, Cleopatra, Ambassador
Page Number: 3.12.33-39
Explanation and Analysis:

In a strategically advantageous position, Octavius Caesar now schemes to drive a wedge between Cleopatra and Mark Antony. He sends one of his men, Thidias, to "win" Cleopatra from Antony, ordering Thidias to "promise" Cleopatra whatever she wants. Octavius goes on to display his contempt for women, asserting that even the most virtuous woman will betray and lie if she is truly desperate (or is offered something especially appealing). 

Octavius's orders make clear his cunning and shifty nature. Antony, by contrast, is a sincere and deeply loyal man. Octavius, though, attempts to exploit others' weaknesses, and believes the worst about human nature.

His statement about women also brings up a crucial plot point: Octavius's constant underestimation of Cleopatra. As we will see as the play continues, Octavius's sexism and arrogance consistently make him think that he has the upper hand over the intelligent and crafty queen. The gravity of his mistake will become fully apparent by the end of the play, even when he is technically "victorious" over her. 

Act 3, Scene 13 Quotes

Mine honesty and I begin to square.
The loyalty well held to fools does make
Our faith mere folly: yet he that can endure
To follow with allegiance a fall'n lord
Does conquer him that did his master conquer
And earns a place i' the story.

Related Characters: Enobarbus (speaker), Mark Antony
Page Number: 3.13.48-53
Explanation and Analysis:

As Antony and Cleopatra continue to make terrible strategic decisions, the unthinkable begins to happen: the utterly loyal Enobarbus begins to question whether or not he should betray Antony. He feels himself at odds with his "honesty," and does not wish to be made a fool out of his own "faith." At the same time, however, Enobarbus wishes to be remembered for his honesty, and worries about what place he will earn in the "story" of these events.

That Enobarbus would ever consider betraying Antony makes clear the terrible situation that the Roman general and the Egyptian queen have created around themselves. They have made Enobarbus feel foolish for following them, and have ignored his good judgment in favor of their own arrogant and ill-advised decisions.

This statement also illuminates Enobarbus's--and the play's--understanding that all of these characters are living through a time of momentous history. Although they are human beings with human wants and desires, they are also kings, queens, and generals, whose decisions have huge consequences on the "story" of the world and the characters around them. 

Antony:
To flatter Caesar, would you mingle eyes
With one that ties his points?

Cleopatra:
Not know me yet?

Antony:
Cold-hearted toward me?

Cleopatra:
Ah, dear, if I be so,
From my cold heart let heaven engender hail,
And poison it in the source; and the first stone
Drop in my neck: as it determines, so
Dissolve my life! The next Caesarion smite!
Till by degrees the memory of my womb,
Together with my brave Egyptians all,
By the discandying of this pelleted storm,
Lie graveless, till the flies and gnats of Nile
Have buried them for prey!

Related Characters: Mark Antony (speaker), Cleopatra (speaker), Octavius Caesar
Page Number: 3.13.191-204
Explanation and Analysis:

A furious Antony comes upon Cleopatra with Thidias; Antony beats the other man, threatens him, and throws him out, before furiously turning on Cleopatra. After he demands to know if she will leave him for Caesar, Cleopatra assures him that she never will. If she ever does, she asks for the gods to kill both herself and her children, and for all of Egypt to fall. 

Once again, this is a difficult exchange to correctly interpret. Cleopatra may well be manipulating Antony, telling him what he wants to hear in order to keep him from abandoning or even killing her. On the other hand, it seems hard to believe that she does not love him, so passionate, gorgeous, and dramatic are the words of her response. 

This passage again makes clear the melding of personal and political that constantly takes place within Cleopatra's world. At this moment in time, she must keep her lover from leaving her, and does so with amazing skill; at the same time, though, it is entirely possible that she means every word she says, and is using her honest emotion in order to fuel her tactical move. 

I will be treble-sinew'd, hearted, breathed,
And fight maliciously: for when mine hours
Were nice and lucky, men did ransom lives
Of me for jests; but now I'll set my teeth,
And send to darkness all that stop me. Come,
Let's have one other gaudy night: call to me
All my sad captains; fill our bowls once more;
Let's mock the midnight bell.

Related Characters: Mark Antony (speaker)
Page Number: 3.13.217-224
Explanation and Analysis:

Heartened by Cleopatra's vow of love, Antony asserts that he will be braver than ever before. He recalls how he used to show mercy to his enemies, but now promises that he will kill them all. He tells Cleopatra that they will have "one other gaudy night," and summons all of his soldiers to drink with him.

Although this speech might seem foolish and misguided, it also suggests that on some level, Antony knows how doomed he is. He wants another "gaudy night" because he knows it will be his last. His urging to "mock the midnight bell" most obviously means that he will stay up late; yet it can also be interpreted that Antony wishes to "mock" his oncoming death. 

This passage illuminates the contradictory and tragic nature of Antony. Although he is brave, sincere, and ruled by emotion rather than logic, Antony is certainly not stupid. He may pretend to think that he can win against Octavius, but in truth, he knows all too well the reality of his situation. 

Act 4, Scene 5 Quotes

Soldier:
One ever near thee: call for Enobarbus,
He shall not hear thee; or from Caesar’s camp
Say ‘I am none of thine.’

Antony:
What say’st thou?

Soldier:
Sir, he is with Caesar.

Eros:
Sir, his chests and treasure
He has not with him.

Antony:
Is he gone?

Soldier:
Most certain.

Antony:
Go, Eros, send his treasure after; do it;
Detain no jot, I charge thee: write to him—
I will subscribe—gentle adieus and greetings;
Say that I wish he never find more cause
To change a master. O, my fortunes have
Corrupted honest men! Dispatch.—Enobarbus!

Related Characters: Mark Antony (speaker), Eros (speaker), Octavius Caesar, Enobarbus
Page Number: 4.5.10-25
Explanation and Analysis:

At the eleventh hour, as Antony once again prepares to fight, he learns that Enobarbus has indeed left him, and has defected to Caesar's camp. When Antony hears the news, he immediately tells his servant to send Enobarbus's belongings and wealth along with him, and to also give his former friend "gentle adieus and greetings." Last, he laments that "his fortunes/ Have corrupted honest men."

This passage reveals two crucial characteristics of Antony: his genuine generosity of spirit, and his passionate self-loathing. On one hand, Antony clearly hates himself, believing that his terrible judgment and ill-advised choices have "corrupted" even Enobarbus, the most "honest" and loyal of men. He does not blame Enobarbus for betraying him, because he knows just how much "cause" there was for his soldier to do so.

At the same time, Antony is still an intensely good and loyal man. Despite having been betrayed by Enobarbus, he still loves his one-time ally, and wishes him only the best. In this dark hour and faced with this huge betrayal, Antony's honesty and love come across as particularly poignant and tragic. 

Act 4, Scene 6 Quotes

I am alone the villain of the earth,
And feel I am so most. O Antony,
Thou mine of bounty, how wouldst thou have paid
My better service, when my turpitude
Thou dost so crown with gold! This blows my heart:
If swift thought break it not, a swifter mean
Shall outstrike thought: but thought will do't, I feel.
I fight against thee! No: I will go seek
Some ditch wherein to die; the foul'st best fits
My latter part of life.

Related Characters: Enobarbus (speaker), Mark Antony
Page Number: 4.6.34-44
Explanation and Analysis:

Enobarbus emerges, having just received both his chests and good wishes from Antony. In agony, he calls himself "the villain of the earth," now remembering Antony as the most generous and loyal master who ever lived. So anguished is Enobarbus that he wishes for his heart to literally break. Realizing that he can never fight against Antony, he resolves to "die" in a "ditch," because he nowdeserves such a foul and dishonorable death.

Antony and Cleopatra's misfortune has spread outward, infecting all who were once loyal to them. Despite making a perfectly rational and even justified choice, Enobarbus is now unable to live with himself, having lost his own identity as a loyal soldier and faithful friend. He has gone from rational and detached to a tragic figure in his own right, unable to deal with the dishonorable action that he has taken. In short, his love for Antony has destroyed him--just as Antony's love for Cleopatra will soon destroy him

Act 4, Scene 15 Quotes

Antony:
Not Caesar’s valour hath o’erthrown Antony,
But Antony’s hath triumph’d on itself.

Cleopatra:
So it should be, that none but Antony
Should conquer Antony; but woe ’tis so!

Antony:
I am dying, Egypt, dying; only
I here importune death awhile, until
Of many thousand kisses the poor last
I lay up thy lips.

Related Characters: Mark Antony (speaker), Cleopatra (speaker), Octavius Caesar
Page Number: 4.15.18-25
Explanation and Analysis:

Believing Cleopatra to be dead, Antony has killed himself. In fact, however, she is still alive, and the two reunite in her tomb as he takes his last breaths. Antony is glad that at least he has killed himself, rather than Caesar doing so, and Cleopatra agrees. Calling his lover "Egypt," Antony says that he will delay death until he can kiss Cleopatra one last time--the final kiss out of "many thousand kisses."

Literally, Antony has "conquer[ed]" himself, since he has killed himself with his own sword. Metaphorically, however, the statement still remains true: Antony has defeated himself with his own pride, ill-judgment, and passion. At every turn, he has done what he wants rather than what is wise. He has been honest instead of cunning, and emotional rather than logical. Now, he is paying the price. 

After all of their squabbling and betrayals, Antony and Cleopatra at last agree, united by tragedy. Antony's words to Cleopatra contain no bitterness, but only heartbreak, as he strives to kiss her one more time before death. 

Antony:
One word, sweet queen:
Of Caesar seek your honour, with your safety. O!

Cleopatra:
They do not go together.

Related Characters: Mark Antony (speaker), Cleopatra (speaker)
Page Number: 4.15.53-55
Explanation and Analysis:

Even in his final moments, Antony has an exchange with Cleopatra that illustrates the radical differences between their worldviews. The honest and idealistic Antony believes that Octavius will give Cleopatra "safety" while also allowing her to retain her "honour." Cleopatra, however, knows that this is not true. If she yields to Caesar and bets for safety, he will not allow her to keep her honor; and if she chooses honor, it will only be retained through her death.

As is always the case, Antony has shown himself to be deeply honorable, but also innocent in the harsher ways of the world. The cunning Cleopatra has a much more clear-eyed view of the reality of the situation, and knows that she will soon be forced to choose between her honor and her life. 

Act 5, Scene 2 Quotes

Now, Charmian!
Show me, my women, like a queen: go fetch
My best attires: I am again for Cydnus,
To meet Mark Antony: sirrah Iras, go.
Now, noble Charmian, we'll dispatch indeed;
And, when thou hast done this chare, I'll give thee leave
To play till doomsday. Bring our crown and all.

Related Characters: Cleopatra (speaker), Mark Antony, Charmian
Page Number: 5.2.276-282
Explanation and Analysis:

With Octavius gone, Cleopatra's manner now changes completely. She regally commands her women to bring her finest robes and crown, wishing to look just as she did the first time she met Mark Antony.

Of course, Cleopatra wishes to die in part because she does not want to live without Antony; also at play is her fear of humiliation in Rome. In this speech, however, we witness a third cause: her wish to be immortalized as a beautiful, powerful, and tragic queen. Like many other characters in the play, Cleopatra is fully aware of her place in history. She knows that she will be remembered, and wishes to control the narrative that others will one day tell about her. And indeed, she is the ultimate "star" of the play and the legend that surrounds it—Octavius is technically the victor, but he isn't even mentioned in the play's title.

Take up her bed;
And bear her women from the monument:
She shall be buried by her Antony:
No grave upon the earth shall clip in it
A pair so famous. High events as these
Strike those that make them; and their story is
No less in pity than his glory which
Brought them to be lamented. Our army shall
In solemn show attend this funeral;
And then to Rome. Come, Dolabella, see
High order in this great solemnity.

Related Characters: Octavius Caesar (speaker), Mark Antony, Cleopatra
Page Number: 5.2.427-437
Explanation and Analysis:

Discovering that Cleopatra is dead, Octavius reacts not with anger, but with respect honor. He orders his soldiers to bury the queen with "her Antony," reflecting that there will never be a "pair" as "famous" as them again. He concludes that he feels moved by these events, even though he caused them, and that he pities the couple. Lastly, he resolves that the whole army shall honor the two with a funeral.

Like Cleopatra and Antony, Octavius here displays that he, too, understands his place in history. Although a crafty and manipulative man, he still feels "pity" and admiration for his fallen foes, even though he has, in many respects, caused their deaths.

Although Antony and Cleopatra is tragic in that it ends with the deaths of its title characters, the two are not defeated in death. Instead, they are honored by their most bitter foe, and take their place in the history of the civilizations that they have both served for their entire lives. 

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Mark Antony Character Timeline in Antony and Cleopatra

The timeline below shows where the character Mark Antony appears in Antony and Cleopatra. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
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A Roman soldier named Philo tells his fellow soldier Demetrius that Antony’s love for Cleopatra “o’erflows the measure.” Formerly a strong general, he is now entirely devoted... (full context)
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Cleopatra asks Antony how much he loves her, and he says it can’t be fathomed. A messenger brings... (full context)
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Cleopatra wants Antony to hear the news from Rome, but he says he doesn’t want to waste the... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
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Three of Cleopatra’s servants, Charmian, Alexas, and Iras, consult a soothsayer. Enobarbus, an advisor to Antony tells them to bring wine for Cleopatra. The soothsayer begins to tell the future of... (full context)
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...things to happen to the soothsayer. They get quiet, though, as Cleopatra enters, looking for Antony. She says that he was happy, but suddenly thought of Rome and was in a... (full context)
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Antony is now on-stage alone with a messenger, who informs him that his wife Fulvia went... (full context)
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...and says that another messenger has news. He leaves to get this other messenger, and Antony reflects that he must break free of his “Egyptian fetters.” The other messenger enters and... (full context)
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Enobarbus enters and Antony tells him that he wants to leave Egypt. Enobarbus says this will be like death... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 3
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Cleopatra and her servants are looking for Antony. She sends Alexas to find Antony and tells her that if he seems sad she... (full context)
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Antony enters and begins to speak to Cleopatra, who is greatly upset. Hardly allowing him to... (full context)
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Antony says that he has to go to Rome because of civil strife, but that his... (full context)
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Cleopatra still doubts Antony’s love for her and teases him, but allows him to leave and wishes him success... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 4
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At Rome, Octavius complains to Lepidus about Antony, who he says drinks and wastes time “in revel.” He says that Antony is as... (full context)
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Octavius wishes Antony would return, and remembers how strong and rugged Antony used to be as a soldier.... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 5
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...Cleopatra asks Charmian to give her “mandragora,” a plant that will make her sleep until Antony returns. Charmian says that Cleopatra thinks about Antony too much. Cleopatra asks a eunuch named... (full context)
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Cleopatra wonders where Antony is, and even envies his horse for getting to “bear the weight of Antony.” Cleopatra... (full context)
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Alexas delivers Antony’s message: Antony promises to conquer lands for Cleopatra and get “all the East,” under her... (full context)
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...remembers Julius Caesar as “that brave Caesar!” but Cleopatra tells her to say “the brave Antony,” instead, and threatens her not to compare Antony to Caesar. She calls for ink and... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
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...do well because, “the people love me, and the sea is mine.” He thinks that Antony is busy carousing in Egypt, and Lepidus merely flatters Octavius and Antony, not having the... (full context)
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...this must be false, as he is sure that they are in Rome waiting for Antony, who is preoccupied in Egypt with “all the charms of love.” He hopes Antony will... (full context)
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Pompey worries that Antony’s soldiers are twice as dangerous as those of Octavius and Lepidus, but tells Menas that... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
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In Rome, Lepidus tells Enobarbus to try to get Antony to speak kindly to Octavius. Enobarbus says Antony will do as he pleases, and Lepidus... (full context)
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Lepidus tries to mediate between Antony and Octavius, telling them to put aside their personal differences to deal with Pompey. Octavius... (full context)
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Octavius chastises Antony for ignoring the messages he sent to him. Antony says his messenger arrived just after... (full context)
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...agrees, noting that they can take up their dispute again once Pompey is dealt with. Antony tells him to be quiet, and Enobarbus says he forgot “that truth should be silent.”... (full context)
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Antony, Lepidus, and Octavius now turn their attention to Pompey, who is at Mount Misena, south... (full context)
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Enobarbus says that when Antony first saw Cleopatra, he invited her to dinner. She declined, though, and invited him to... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 3
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Octavius has introduced Octavia to Antony, and Antony tells her that although his business will take him from her side, he... (full context)
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Antony asks him whether his or Octavius’ fortune will be better, and the soothsayer says Octavius’... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 5
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...billiards, but then thinks she’ll go fishing and pretend that every fish she catches is Antony, so that she can say, “Aha! You’re caught.” (full context)
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A messenger arrives from Italy, and Cleopatra fears that Antony is dead. The messenger tries to speak, but Cleopatra says that he does not look... (full context)
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The messenger is finally able to deliver his message: Antony has been married to Octavia. Cleopatra is furious, and beats the messenger. She tells him... (full context)
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...away, and says she is being punished for having betrayed Julius Caesar’s memory by praising Antony. She orders for Alexas to find out what Octavia looks like and report back to... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 6
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Pompey, Octavius, Antony, and Lepidus meet to try to come to a truce before fighting. Pompey speaks of... (full context)
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...hands, agreeing to the truce, and Pompey says that they should feast together. Pompey tells Antony about some rumors he has heard of Egypt, and alludes to Cleopatra’s relationship with Julius... (full context)
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...and Menas leaves. The two men compliment each other on their military service, one for Antony and the other for Pompey. They agree that “there is never a fair woman has... (full context)
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Menas says that this marriage will unite Octavius and Antony, but Enobarbus says he is not so sure. He thinks Antony will choose Cleopatra over... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 7
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...a great feast is taking place. Servants discuss how drunk everyone is getting, especially Lepidus. Antony tells Lepidus all about Egypt, the Nile, and “strange serpents” there. Pompey raises a toast... (full context)
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...to leave the table and they speak privately. Menas tells him that he could kill Antony, Octavius, and Lepidus all on the boat and become “lord of all the world.” Pompey... (full context)
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...plays. Octavius then stops and says he has indulged in enough levity. He leaves, while Antony stays the night on the boat. Enobarbus stays with Menas in his cabin. (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
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Having just won a military victory in Parthia, Ventidius (one of Antony’s men) talks with a soldier named Silius, who encourages him to pursue the Parthians through... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 2
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...to leave Rome and her brother. They discuss Lepidus, and joke about whether he loves Antony or Octavius more. Octavius, Antony, Octavia, and Lepidus enter, and Octavius says how sad he... (full context)
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...bad for him to do so, since he is a man. But Agrippa says that Antony cried when he found Julius Caesar killed. Octavius bids farewell to his sister without crying,... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 3
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...is inelegant. Cleopatra is pleased, relieved to think that she faces no real competition for Antony’s affections. She gives the messenger gold. (full context)
Act 3, Scene 4
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At Antony’s house in Athens, Antony complains to Octavia that Octavius has “waged / New wars ‘gainst... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 5
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In another room of Antony’s house, one of his followers named Eros tells Enobarbus that Octavius and Lepidus have defeated... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 6
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In Rome, at the house of Octavius, Octavius complains to Maecenas and Agrippa about Antony’s behavior: he has enthroned Cleopatra and himself in public on a platform of silver with... (full context)
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...secretly, without any entourage. She tells him that she has come to beg pardon for Antony. He asks her if she knows where Antony is, and she says he is in... (full context)
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...her “heart parted betwixt two friends.” Octavius says that he held off on fighting with Antony for her sake, until he learned that Antony had wronged her. He welcomes her to... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 7
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Near the town of Actium, Cleopatra tells Enobarbus that she will go into battle with Antony. Enobarbus says to himself that one should not send “horses and mares” together into battle.... (full context)
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Antony enters with his commander Canidius. He says that he will fight Octavius at sea, against... (full context)
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A soldier begs Antony not to fight by sea, saying that his army is used to fighting and winning... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 10
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Canidius leads Antony’s land forces in one direction, and Taurus leads Octavius’ in another. Octavius’ and Antony’s navies... (full context)
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Canidius enters and says, “our fortune on the sea is out of breath.” Antony’s navy has followed his example and fled. He says that he will go surrender himself... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 11
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At Cleopatra’s palace in Alexandria, Antony is ashamed of having fled the battle of Actium. He tells his attendants to go... (full context)
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Eros tries to get Antony to listen to Cleopatra, and he exclaims, “O, whither hast thou led me, Egypt?” Cleopatra... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 12
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At Octavius’ camp, his follower Dolabella tells him that Antony has sent an ambassador. The ambassador arrives, and delivers Antony’s plea to be left alive,... (full context)
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Octavius says that he has “no ears” for Antony’s request, but will pardon Cleopatra if she will either kill Antony or drive him out... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 13
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Back at Cleopatra’s palace, she asks Enobarbus what they should do, and whether she or Antony is at fault for what has happened. Enobarbus blames Antony for following her in fleeing... (full context)
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...no way Octavius will discard all of his advantages and enter into a duel with Antony. Thidias arrives from Octavius, and Enobarbus wonders to himself whether he should remain loyal to... (full context)
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Thidias tells Cleopatra that Octavius knows she did not really love Antony, but only “fear’d him,” and thus is willing to forgive her. Cleopatra agrees with Thidias,... (full context)
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Antony re-enters with Enobarbus and is furious to see Octavius’ man Thidias kissing Cleopatra’s hand. He... (full context)
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Antony reminds Cleopatra of how he found her, “a morsel cold upon / Dead Caesar’s trencher,”... (full context)
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Antony asks Cleopatra if she would really leave him for Octavius, and Cleopatra tells him that... (full context)
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Antony says he will have “one other gaudy night,” and calls for wine. He plans to... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 1
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Speaking with Maecenas and Agrippa, Octavius mocks Antony’s challenge of single-handed combat. He plans to fight “the last of many battles” tomorrow to... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
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At Cleopatra’s palace, Enobarbus tells Antony that Octavius will not agree to fight with him alone. Antony resolves to fight “by... (full context)
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Antony thanks all his followers, and encourages them to “scant not my cups,” as he plans... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 3
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...from “under the earth,” and one of them interprets this as a sign that Hercules (Antony’s patron deity) is deserting him. The soldiers leave to see if they can find out... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 4
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The next day, Antony prepares for battle, having Eros put on his armor. Cleopatra tries to help put on... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 5
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At Antony’s military camp, a soldier informs him that Enobarbus has deserted him for Octavius, but has... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 6
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...battle, saying that “the time of universal peace is near.” He orders for deserters from Antony’s forces to be put in the front lines, so that Antony’s men will seem to... (full context)
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Enobarbus reflects on his recent change of loyalties, and notes that those who have left Antony for Octavius have not been treated particularly well. He regrets leaving Antony. A soldier enters,... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 7
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On the field of battle, Agrippa calls for his forces to retreat, and Antony enters with his soldier Scarus, who is wounded. Eros enters and happily tells them that... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 8
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Back in Alexandria, Antony thanks his soldiers and says that tomorrow they will “spill the blood / That has... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 9
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Two soldiers are keeping guard at Octavius’ camp, when Enobarbus enters, repenting for having deserted Antony. He says that he hopes to die, and begs out loud for Antony to forgive... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 10
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The next day, Antony prepares to fight Octavius at sea. He tells Scarus that he would willingly “fight i’... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 11
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...and sends his men “to the vales,” to “hold our best advantage,” planning to meet Antony’s forces at sea. (full context)
Act 4, Scene 12
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Antony and Scarus look out at the sea, but Antony cannot see the battle. He leaves... (full context)
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Antony returns, upset, and says, “this foul Egyptian hath betrayed me.” Antony’s fleet yielded to Octavius’... (full context)
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Cleopatra enters and asks why Antony is so mad. Antony tells her to leave or else he will hit her. He... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 13
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At her palace, Cleopatra complains to Charmian, Iras, and Mardian that Antony is mad. Charmian suggests that she go to her monumental tomb (which has already been... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 14
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Elsewhere in the palace, Antony talks with Eros. He describes how “sometimes we see a cloud that’s dragonish; / A... (full context)
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Antony blames his defeat on Cleopatra, who he thinks betrayed him to Octavius and didn’t truly... (full context)
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Alone, Antony says that he will follow her example and end his own life. He says that... (full context)
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Eros does not want to kill his master, but Antony tells him that this would be better than him being humiliated and shamed as a... (full context)
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Antony turns around and sees what has happened. He praises Eros’ bravery and loyalty, and says... (full context)
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Diomedes, one of Cleopatra’s servants, enters and tells Antony that Cleopatra has sent him. He says that Cleopatra is alive and “lock’d in her... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 15
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Antony tells Cleopatra that he is dying, but that he wants to kiss her one last... (full context)
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Antony tells Cleopatra not to lament at his death, but to remember him as “the greatest... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
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At his camp, Octavius sends Dolabella to demand Antony’s surrender. But just then Dercetas comes from Antony, tells Octavius that Antony is dead, and... (full context)
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...to go with him to his tent, where he will show them his letters to Antony which he says prove “How hardly I was drawn into this war.” (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
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...both of them to Rome to be humiliated in public, and comedic actors will present Antony as a drunkard and Cleopatra as a whore. (full context)
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...“best attires,” and her crown, as she wants to look her best when she meets Antony in death. A “rural fellow” comes in, bringing Cleopatra a basket of figs. Cleopatra says... (full context)
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...concludes she used asps to kill herself. He orders for Cleopatra to buried “by her Antony,” and says that he pities “a pair so famous.” He says that his army will... (full context)