Antony and Cleopatra

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Antony and Cleopatra Quotes

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. 

The barge she sat in, like a burnish'd throne,
Burn'd on the water: the poop was beaten gold;
Purple the sails, and so perfumed that
The winds were love-sick with them; the oars were silver,
Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made
The water which they beat to follow faster,
As amorous of their strokes. For her own person,
It beggar'd all description: she did lie
In her pavilion--cloth-of-gold of tissue—
O'er-picturing that Venus where we see
The fancy outwork nature: on each side her
Stood pretty dimpled boys, like smiling Cupids,
With divers-colour'd fans, whose wind did seem
To glow the delicate cheeks which they did cool,
And what they undid did.

Related Characters: Enobarbus (speaker), Cleopatra
Page Number: 2.2.227-242
Explanation and Analysis:

Until this moment in time, Enobarbus has been highly critical of Cleopatra, rightly believing her to be distracting and detrimental to Antony, to whom he is incredibly loyal. When asked to recount how Antony met Cleopatra, however, Enobarbus reveals that while he might be a soldier, he has the soul of a poet. He narrates Cleopatra's grand entrance, describing how she sailed down the Nile in a golden barge with purple sails, looking like "Venus," and was so beautiful that the elements themselves seemed to smile on her. 

In this moment, we as audience members/readers fully understand why Antony is so entranced by Cleopatra. So beautiful and captivating is she that even a plainspoken man like Enobarbus is moved to poetry when he speaks about her. And so gorgeous is that poetry that even we, hearing this secondhand account, become completely swept up in its beauty and lyricism.

It is important to remember, though, that this passage also displays Cleopatra's tactics and her cunning. She has made this trip specifically to seduce Antony, whom she believes will protect Egypt and keep her own power secure. Using a combination of theatricality and her own beauty, she has combined romance and politics for her own benefit. 

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. 

Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
Her infinite variety: other women cloy
The appetites they feed: but she makes hungry
Where most she satisfies.

Related Characters: Enobarbus (speaker), Cleopatra
Page Number: 2.2.276-280
Explanation and Analysis:

Enobarbus finishes his story of Cleopatra and Mark Antony with a stunning assessment of the queen: he asserts that she will never "wither," no matter how old, and that no man will ever grow weary of her, due to her "infinite variety." She has a paradoxical power, he concludes. Unlike "other women," who make men become sick of them, she makes men hunger for her even more as she simultaneously "satisfies" their desires.

From this passage, it is clear that Cleopatra has also entranced the skeptical Enobarbus, however unwilling he may be to admit it. His words also get to the heart of Cleopatra's power. By appearing unpredictable and passionate, she has ensured that men will always be fascinated by her. Further, by bestowing passion and pain in equal measure, she has created a system in which men like Antony constantly seek to possess her, even in the midst of a relationship with her, and while acknowledging that the impossibility of ever "possessing" her is a large part of her allure. 

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

Where is he now?

My lord, in Athens.

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. 

Most kind messenger,
Say to great Caesar this: in deputation
I kiss his conquering hand: tell him, I am prompt
To lay my crown at ’s feet, and there to kneel:
Tell him from his all-obeying breath I hear
The doom of Egypt.

Related Characters: Cleopatra (speaker), Octavius Caesar
Page Number: 3.13.90-95
Explanation and Analysis:

The deceitful and flattering Thidias comes to Cleopatra, promising her Octavius's favor if she betrays Antony. Cleopatra replies that she acknowledges Caesar as her conqueror, and that she will place her "crown" at his "feet" in order to avert the "doom of Egypt."

This statement is a complicated and troubling one from Cleopatra. On one hand, she is very close to betraying Antony--a terrible action from a woman who claims to be deeply in love with the man who has thrown away his life for her.

On the other hand, Cleopatra must think not only about herself, but also about her country. Despite her love for Antony, her duty to Egypt comes first, and she is prepare to do whatever it takes to protect it from the conquering Octavius. 

On the surface, this passage makes it seem like Cleopatra is faithless and calculating. After further reflection, however, it is clear that she is in an impossible position, caught between her love for Antony and her love for her country, and is attempting to make the choice that will benefit her people rather than herself. 

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

Not know me yet?

Cold-hearted toward me?

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

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

What say’st thou?

Sir, he is with Caesar.

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

Is he gone?

Most certain.

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

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

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

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. 

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

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 1 Quotes

Come hither, Proculeius. Go and say,
We purpose her no shame: give her what comforts
The quality of her passion shall require,
Lest, in her greatness, by some mortal stroke
She do defeat us; for her life in Rome
Would be eternal in our triumph: go,
And with your speediest bring us what she says,
And how you find of her.

Related Characters: Octavius Caesar (speaker), Cleopatra, Proculeius
Page Number: 5.1.72-79
Explanation and Analysis:

The triumphant Caesar instructs one of his men on how to greet Cleopatra. Wishing to parade his triumph over the queen in front of the Roman people, he is worried that she will thwart him by committing suicide. As such, he tells his messenger to say whatever it will take to soothe Cleopatra, reminding him that bringing Cleopatra back to Rome would make his victory "eternal." 

In this passage, Caesar is both cunning and mistaken. He has no strong relationship to truth, and is willing to do whatever it takes to ultimately humiliate Cleopatra in front of the Roman populace (thus reinforcing his own victory and mastery). At the same time, however, he believes that Cleopatra is weaker and less intelligent than he is. In truth, the queen is fully aware of what he intends to do, and cannot be swayed from her ultimate course--committing suicide. In believing that he can deceive her, Octavius is himself deceived. 

Act 5, Scene 2 Quotes

Sir, I will eat no meat, I'll not drink, sir;
If idle talk will once be necessary,
I'll not sleep neither: this mortal house I'll ruin,
Do Caesar what he can. Know, sir, that I
Will not wait pinion'd at your master's court;
Nor once be chastised with the sober eye
Of dull Octavia. Shall they hoist me up
And show me to the shouting varletry
Of censuring Rome? Rather a ditch in Egypt
Be gentle grave unto me! rather on Nilus' mud
Lay me stark naked, and let the water-flies
Blow me into abhorring! rather make
My country's high pyramides my gibbet,
And hang me up in chains!

Related Characters: Cleopatra (speaker), Octavius Caesar
Page Number: 5.2.59-72
Explanation and Analysis:

Cleopatra attempts to kill herself, but is foiled by Octavius's messenger. Thus kept from her goal, she vows not to eat, drink, or sleep until her "mortal house"--her body--is "ruin[ed]." Despite the Roman's attempts to fool her, Cleopatra knows that she will be imprisoned and humiliated in Rome. Rather than live with this dishonor, she instead wishes to die in "a ditch in Egypt," drown in the mud of the Nile, or be hanged from the top of a pyramid.

Having lost both her love and her country, Cleopatra has only one remaining desire: not to be dishonored. She knows, however, that the only way to do so is through death. This speech makes clear Cleopatra's resolve to die rather than be humiliated, and her terrible fear of what Octavius will do to her if she lives. While the Romans may still believe that they will prevail over Cleopatra's weak, womanly willpower, the audience knows all too well that the strong-willed Cleopatra will accomplish what she has set out to do. 

Sole sir o' the world,
I cannot project mine own cause so well
To make it clear; but do confess I have
Been laden with like frailties which before
Have often shamed our sex.

Related Characters: Cleopatra (speaker), Octavius Caesar
Page Number: 5.2.149-153
Explanation and Analysis:

Finally face-to-face with Octavius, Cleopatra kneels before him. In contrast with her formerly passionate speech, she is now subdued and humble. Instead, she hails Octavius as the conqueror of the world, and "confess[es]" that she is a frail woman who has made foolish mistakes.

As audience members and readers, we are aware of the falsity of Cleopatra's speech here. Determined to kill herself, she is brilliantly playing into Octavius's misguided perceptions of her. He is convinced that she is a weak and submissive woman, and so that is what she pretends to be. Just as she once manipulated Antony, she is now manipulating Octavius in a very different way, pretending to be something that she is not in order to achieve her ultimate aim. 

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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