Antony and Cleopatra

Antony and Cleopatra

Cleopatra Character Analysis

Read our modern English translation.
The queen of Egypt, Cleopatra is a powerful woman who wears her sexuality on her sleeve. She can be impetuous and capricious, jumping from one emotion to another (especially early in the play), and often manipulates Antony by calling his love into question or pretending to be dead, for example. Nonetheless, Cleopatra is brave, and, especially later in the play, is presented in a noble, tragic light. After the death of Antony, she faces her death with strong resolve, and chooses to determine her own fate rather than suffering the humiliation of being Octavius’ servant, slave, or prisoner.

Cleopatra Quotes in Antony and Cleopatra

The Antony and Cleopatra quotes below are all either spoken by Cleopatra or refer to Cleopatra. 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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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Act 2, Scene 2 Quotes

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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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Act 3, Scene 13 Quotes

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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proi

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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Get the entire Antony and Cleopatra LitChart as a printable PDF.
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Cleopatra Character Timeline in Antony and Cleopatra

The timeline below shows where the character Cleopatra appears in Antony and Cleopatra. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
Love, Pleasure, and Decadence Theme Icon
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 to his love... (full context)
Love, Pleasure, and Decadence Theme Icon
Honor, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Messages, Warnings, and Omens Theme Icon
Cleopatra asks Antony how much he loves her, and he says it can’t be fathomed. A... (full context)
Love, Pleasure, and Decadence Theme Icon
Honor, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Messages, Warnings, and Omens Theme Icon
Cleopatra wants Antony to hear the news from Rome, but he says he doesn’t want to... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
Messages, Warnings, and Omens Theme Icon
Three of Cleopatra’s servants, Charmian, Alexas, and Iras, consult a soothsayer. Enobarbus, an advisor to Antony tells them... (full context)
Strategy, Manipulation, and Power Theme Icon
Messages, Warnings, and Omens Theme Icon
...Egyptian gods for bad 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... (full context)
Love, Pleasure, and Decadence Theme Icon
Messages, Warnings, and Omens Theme Icon
...an enemy. He hints that all this has happened while Antony has been dallying with Cleopatra, and Antony tells him not to mince his words, but to criticize Cleopatra in the... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 3
Strategy, Manipulation, and Power Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Cleopatra and her servants are looking for Antony. She sends Alexas to find Antony and tells... (full context)
Love, Pleasure, and Decadence Theme Icon
Honor, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Messages, Warnings, and Omens Theme Icon
Antony enters and begins to speak to Cleopatra, who is greatly upset. Hardly allowing him to speak, she says she has been betrayed... (full context)
Love, Pleasure, and Decadence Theme Icon
Honor, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
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...has to go to Rome because of civil strife, but that his heart remains with Cleopatra. He tells her of Fulvia’s death, and Cleopatra is shocked at how calm he seems.... (full context)
Love, Pleasure, and Decadence Theme Icon
Cleopatra still doubts Antony’s love for her and teases him, but allows him to leave and... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 4
Love, Pleasure, and Decadence Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...says drinks and wastes time “in revel.” He says that Antony is as womanly as Cleopatra and Cleopatra is as manly as Antony. Lepidus defends Antony, saying that his faults are... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 5
Love, Pleasure, and Decadence Theme Icon
Back in Egypt, Cleopatra asks Charmian to give her “mandragora,” a plant that will make her sleep until Antony... (full context)
Love, Pleasure, and Decadence Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Cleopatra wonders where Antony is, and even envies his horse for getting to “bear the weight... (full context)
Love, Pleasure, and Decadence Theme Icon
Messages, Warnings, and Omens Theme Icon
Alexas delivers Antony’s message: Antony promises to conquer lands for Cleopatra and get “all the East,” under her command. Cleopatra asks how Antony was when Alexas... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
Love, Pleasure, and Decadence Theme Icon
Strategy, Manipulation, and Power Theme Icon
Messages, Warnings, and Omens Theme Icon
...the charms of love.” He hopes Antony will stay in Egypt, under the control of Cleopatra’s beauty, lust, and witchcraft, as “Epicurean cooks / Sharpen with cloyless sauce his appetite.” But... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
Love, Pleasure, and Decadence Theme Icon
Enobarbus tells Agrippa and Maecenas about Cleopatra, who has a huge barge “like a burnished throne,” made of gold with silver oars.... (full context)
Love, Pleasure, and Decadence Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Enobarbus says that when Antony first saw Cleopatra, he invited her to dinner. She declined, though, and invited him to be her guest... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 5
Love, Pleasure, and Decadence Theme Icon
Strategy, Manipulation, and Power Theme Icon
Back in Egypt, Cleopatra passes time with her attendants Charmian, Iras, and Alexas. She asks the eunuch Mardian to... (full context)
Messages, Warnings, and Omens Theme Icon
A messenger arrives from Italy, and Cleopatra fears that Antony is dead. The messenger tries to speak, but Cleopatra says that he... (full context)
Honor, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Messages, Warnings, and Omens Theme Icon
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 she will give him a province... (full context)
Love, Pleasure, and Decadence Theme Icon
Honor, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Messages, Warnings, and Omens Theme Icon
Charmian tells Cleopatra that it is not the messenger’s fault, and she calls for him to return. Cleopatra... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 6
Love, Pleasure, and Decadence Theme Icon
Strategy, Manipulation, and Power Theme Icon
...together. Pompey tells Antony about some rumors he has heard of Egypt, and alludes to Cleopatra’s relationship with Julius Caesar. (full context)
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...woman has a true face,” and that women “steal hearts.” Menas asks if Antony and Cleopatra are married, and Enobarbus says Antony is actually married to Octavia. (full context)
Love, Pleasure, and Decadence Theme Icon
Strategy, Manipulation, and Power Theme Icon
...and Antony, but Enobarbus says he is not so sure. He thinks Antony will choose Cleopatra over Octavia, and this will upset Octavius. Menas and Enobarbus leave together to join the... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 3
Love, Pleasure, and Decadence Theme Icon
Messages, Warnings, and Omens Theme Icon
Back in Egypt, Cleopatra hears back from the messenger she sent to go see Octavia. The messenger reports on... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 6
Love, Pleasure, and Decadence Theme Icon
Honor, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Strategy, Manipulation, and Power Theme Icon
...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 golden chairs, and has declared... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 7
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Near the town of Actium, Cleopatra tells Enobarbus that she will go into battle with Antony. Enobarbus says to himself that... (full context)
Messages, Warnings, and Omens Theme Icon
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...to fighting and winning battles “standing on the earth.” Antony ignores him and leaves with Cleopatra and Enobarbus. The soldier tells Canidius Antony should not fight at sea, and Canidius agrees.... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 10
Honor, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Strategy, Manipulation, and Power Theme Icon
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...He says that the battle was even, and no one was clearly winning, but then Cleopatra fled. Antony immediately turned and followed her. He remarks on how shameful and dishonorable Antony’s... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 11
Honor, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
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At Cleopatra’s palace in Alexandria, Antony is ashamed of having fled the battle of Actium. He tells... (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 asks for his forgiveness... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 12
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Messages, Warnings, and Omens Theme Icon
...to live either in Egypt or as “a private man in Athens.” He says that Cleopatra admits to Octavius’ greatness and begs his mercy. (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 of Egypt. He sends the... (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... (full context)
Honor, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Strategy, Manipulation, and Power Theme Icon
Messages, Warnings, and Omens Theme Icon
Thidias tells Cleopatra that Octavius knows she did not really love Antony, but only “fear’d him,” and thus... (full context)
Love, Pleasure, and Decadence Theme Icon
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Antony re-enters with Enobarbus and is furious to see Octavius’ man Thidias kissing Cleopatra’s hand. He calls in servants to take Thidias away and whip him, “till, like a... (full context)
Honor, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Messages, Warnings, and Omens Theme Icon
Antony reminds Cleopatra of how he found her, “a morsel cold upon / Dead Caesar’s trencher,” and continues... (full context)
Love, Pleasure, and Decadence Theme Icon
Honor, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Antony asks Cleopatra if she would really leave him for Octavius, and Cleopatra tells him that she would... (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... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 3
Messages, Warnings, and Omens Theme Icon
Several soldiers talk in Cleopatra’s palace, anxiously awaiting tomorrow’s battle. One of the soldiers says he thinks they will be... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 4
Love, Pleasure, and Decadence Theme Icon
Messages, Warnings, and Omens Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
The next day, Antony prepares for battle, having Eros put on his armor. Cleopatra tries to help put on his armor, but puts some of it on incorrectly. Antony... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 8
Love, Pleasure, and Decadence Theme Icon
Honor, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
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...soldiers and says that tomorrow they will “spill the blood / That has to-day escaped.” Cleopatra enters, and Antony tells her he has been victorious. He tells her of Scarus’ honorable... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 12
Honor, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Strategy, Manipulation, and Power Theme Icon
...now “cast their caps up and carouse together / Like friends long lost.” He calls Cleopatra a “triple-turn’d whore,” thinking that she has betrayed him. Antony thinks he will die, and... (full context)
Love, Pleasure, and Decadence Theme Icon
Honor, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
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Cleopatra enters and asks why Antony is so mad. Antony tells her to leave or else... (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... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 14
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Antony blames his defeat on Cleopatra, who he thinks betrayed him to Octavius and didn’t truly love him. Mardian enters and... (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... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 15
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Messages, Warnings, and Omens Theme Icon
At her tomb, Cleopatra tells Charmian she will never leave the place. Diomedes enters and tells her that Antony... (full context)
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Honor, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
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Antony tells Cleopatra that he is dying, but that he wants to kiss her one last time. Cleopatra... (full context)
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Antony tells Cleopatra not to lament at his death, but to remember him as “the greatest prince o’... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
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An Egyptian enters bearing a message from Cleopatra. He tells Octavius that Cleopatra wishes to know his intentions with her, “that she preparedly... (full context)
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Octavius tells his man Proculeius to go to Cleopatra and promise her comforts so that she does not commit suicide in her defeat. He... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
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Back at her tomb, Cleopatra reasons that she will achieve a greater fate than Octavius, because he is at the... (full context)
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Proculeius tells Cleopatra not to worry, as she has “fall’n into a princely hand.” She says that she... (full context)
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Cleopatra tells Proculeius that she “will not wait pinion’d at your master’s court.” She says she... (full context)
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Dolabella pities Cleopatra, and admits to her that Octavius plans to lead her as a prisoner in his... (full context)
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Octavius tells Cleopatra that if she surrenders to him, she will “find a benefit in this change,” and... (full context)
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Cleopatra tells Octavius all she has held back are “some lady trifles,” which she plans to... (full context)
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Now alone with Charmian and Iras, Cleopatra says that Octavius is trying to persuade her to “not / Be noble to myself.”... (full context)
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Cleopatra sends Charmian and Iras to get her “best attires,” and her crown, as she wants... (full context)
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Cleopatra takes an asp and has it bite her breast. She calls it, “my baby at... (full context)
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Octavius enters and, seeing what has happened, calls Cleopatra “bravest at the last.” Octavius asks how Cleopatra died, and Dolabella and a guard notice... (full context)