Antony and Cleopatra Act 3, Scene 12 Summary & Analysis
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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, and to be allowed to live either in Egypt or as “a private man in Athens.” He says that Cleopatra admits to Octavius’ greatness and begs his mercy.
The important news of Antony’s willingness to surrender and give all power over Rome to Octavius is delivered by an intermediary character, the ambassador. Antony and Octavius do not communicate face-to-face.
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 of Egypt. He sends the ambassador to deliver this reply back to Antony. He calls his man Thidias, and tells him to go and “from Antony win Cleopatra,” promising her whatever gifts she requires to make her turn against Antony.
Octavius plots to make Cleopatra betray Antony, and sends his own messenger to try to manipulate her into doing as he wishes. He seems to believe that she loves wealth and luxury more than she loves Antony.