Antony and Cleopatra

Antony and Cleopatra

Octavius Caesar Character Analysis

Read our modern English translation.
The adoptive son of Julius Caesar, who would later go on to be called Augustus and establish the Roman Empire. In the play, he is a strong, powerful, self-restrained man. After dealing with Pompey and Lepidus, he wages war against the forces of Antony and Cleopatra and is victorious, gaining sole control over Rome. He tries to persuade Cleopatra not to commit suicide, as he wishes to humiliate her by parading her in his public triumph after defeating Antony. However, after Cleopatra’s death, he admits that he respects both Antony and Cleopatra as strong, honorable opponents, ordering for them to be buried together and planning to attend their funerals before returning to Rome with his victorious army.

Octavius Caesar Quotes in Antony and Cleopatra

The Antony and Cleopatra quotes below are all either spoken by Octavius Caesar or refer to Octavius Caesar. 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 numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon & Schuster edition of Antony and Cleopatra published in 2005.
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 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:

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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:

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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:

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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 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 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:

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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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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:

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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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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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Octavius Caesar Character Timeline in Antony and Cleopatra

The timeline below shows where the character Octavius Caesar 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
Honor, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Messages, Warnings, and Omens Theme Icon
...brings news from Rome. Cleopatra guesses Fulvia, Antony’s wife, might be mad, or the young Octavius Caesar might have demands for Antony. Antony is not interested in the news, concerned only... (full context)
Love, Pleasure, and Decadence Theme Icon
Honor, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Messages, Warnings, and Omens Theme Icon
...and Cleopatra leave without hearing the messenger. Demetrius remarks on how disrespectful Antony seems toward Octavius, and Philo responds that Antony is not himself. (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
Love, Pleasure, and Decadence Theme Icon
Messages, Warnings, and Omens Theme Icon
...wife Fulvia went to war against his brother Lucius, but then allied with Lucius against Octavius, who defeated both of them. The messenger says that he has more bad news: Antony... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 4
Love, Pleasure, and Decadence Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
At Rome, Octavius complains to Lepidus about Antony, who he says drinks and wastes time “in revel.” He... (full context)
Love, Pleasure, and Decadence Theme Icon
Honor, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Strategy, Manipulation, and Power Theme Icon
Messages, Warnings, and Omens Theme Icon
Octavius, though, is still upset with Antony for indulging in all sorts of merriment while he... (full context)
Love, Pleasure, and Decadence Theme Icon
Strategy, Manipulation, and Power Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Octavius wishes Antony would return, and remembers how strong and rugged Antony used to be as... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
Love, Pleasure, and Decadence Theme Icon
Honor, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Strategy, Manipulation, and Power Theme Icon
Pompey worries that Antony’s soldiers are twice as dangerous as those of Octavius and Lepidus, but tells Menas that they should take it as a compliment that their... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
Strategy, Manipulation, and Power Theme Icon
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 tells him that, in the... (full context)
Honor, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Lepidus tries to mediate between Antony and Octavius, telling them to put aside their personal differences to deal with Pompey. Octavius is upset... (full context)
Honor, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Strategy, Manipulation, and Power Theme Icon
Messages, Warnings, and Omens Theme Icon
Octavius chastises Antony for ignoring the messages he sent to him. Antony says his messenger arrived... (full context)
Love, Pleasure, and Decadence Theme Icon
Strategy, Manipulation, and Power Theme Icon
Messages, Warnings, and Omens Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...truth should be silent.” Agrippa speaks up and suggests that, since Fulvia is now dead, Octavius’ sister Octavia could be married to Antony, in order to bind Octavius and Antony together... (full context)
Love, Pleasure, and Decadence Theme Icon
Strategy, Manipulation, and Power Theme Icon
Antony, Lepidus, and Octavius now turn their attention to Pompey, who is at Mount Misena, south of Rome. Before... (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... (full context)
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Antony asks him whether his or Octavius’ fortune will be better, and the soothsayer says Octavius’ will be. He warns Antony not... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 5
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...for announcing bad news. The messenger says that Antony is well and is friends with Octavius. He begins to say, “But yet,” and Cleopatra interrupts him, saying that this phrase suggests... (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... (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... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 7
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...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 says... (full context)
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...Enobarbus suggests that they dance “the Egyptian bacchanals,” and everyone starts dancing as music plays. Octavius then stops and says he has indulged in enough levity. He leaves, while Antony stays... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 2
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At Octavius’ home in Rome, Enobarbus and Agrippa are discussing Octavia, who is sad to leave Rome... (full context)
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...leave her brother. She whispers something in his ear, and Enobarbus and Agrippa debate whether Octavius will cry. Enobarbus opines that it would be bad for him to do so, since... (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 Pompey,” and “spoke scantly” of Antony. Octavia tries to... (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 Pompey, but that then Octavius did not let Lepidus “partake in... (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... (full context)
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Octavia arrives and Octavius marvels that she came to Rome secretly, without any entourage. She tells him that she... (full context)
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Octavia is shocked, and laments that she has her “heart parted betwixt two friends.” Octavius says that he held off on fighting with Antony for her sake, until he learned... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 7
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Antony enters with his commander Canidius. He says that he will fight Octavius at sea, against the advice of Canidius. Enobarbus warns Antony, “your ships are not well... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 8
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Elsewhere nearby Actium, Octavius gives military orders to his commander Taurus, telling him not to strike by land until... (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 fight a sea battle. Enobarbus cries out that Antony... (full context)
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...has followed his example and fled. He says that he will go surrender himself to Octavius. Enobarbus says that he will keep supporting Antony, even though his better judgment advises him... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 11
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...with Caesar.” He laments his cowardly behavior, and encourages his attendants to go and seek Octavius’ mercy. Cleopatra enters with Charmian, Iras, and Eros. The three encourage her to comfort Antony,... (full context)
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...strings,” so that she dragged him after her. He resolves to send “humble treaties” to Octavius and surrender. He says his sword is “made weak by my affection,” kisses Cleopatra, and... (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,... (full context)
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Octavius says that he has “no ears” for Antony’s request, but will pardon Cleopatra if she... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 13
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...following her in fleeing from Actium. Antony enters with his ambassador, and tells Cleopatra about Octavius’ reply. Angry, Antony says he will give Octavius a counter-offer: he will challenge Octavius to... (full context)
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Enobarbus says that there is no way Octavius will discard all of his advantages and enter into a duel with Antony. Thidias arrives... (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... (full context)
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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... (full context)
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...him. His servants return with Thidias, who has been beaten. Antony sends Thidias back to Octavius to tell him how he has been treated here. Thidias leaves, and Antony laments that... (full context)
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Antony asks Cleopatra if she would really leave him for Octavius, and Cleopatra tells him that she would never do such a thing. She wishes for... (full context)
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...wine. He plans to drink and enjoy himself tonight, before preparing again for battle against Octavius. Everyone but Enobarbus leaves. Enobarbus reflects that Antony is being unreasonable, like a little dove... (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”... (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 sea and... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 4
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...behind. Before retiring to her room, Cleopatra says that Antony “goes forth gallantly,” but wishes Octavius had agreed to a duel rather than an open battle. (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 left his “chests and treasure” behind. Antony orders for these things to be... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 6
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At his camp, Octavius orders his commander Agrippa to begin the battle, saying that “the time of universal peace... (full context)
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...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, bearing Enobarbus’... (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... (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’ the fire or i’... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 11
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Elsewhere, Octavius prepares for battle. He tells his army to “be still by land,” and sends his... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 12
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Antony returns, upset, and says, “this foul Egyptian hath betrayed me.” Antony’s fleet yielded to Octavius’ forces and they now “cast their caps up and carouse together / Like friends long... (full context)
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...He tells her she will be taken as prisoner and humiliated for public display in Octavius’ parade celebrating his triumph. Cleopatra leaves. Antony says it would have been better if Cleopatra... (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 tells Antony that Cleopatra really did love... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 15
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...her one last time. Cleopatra tells him that she will not be taken prisoner by Octavius, but will end her own life, “if knife, drugs, serpents, have / Edge, sting, or... (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... (full context)
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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 may frame herself... (full context)
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Octavius tells his man Proculeius to go to Cleopatra and promise her comforts so that she... (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 whims of fortune, whereas she is now taking control of... (full context)
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...she has “fall’n into a princely hand.” She says that she will be obedient to Octavius. Gallus comments to Proculeius that Cleopatra is easily tricked, and exits, leaving Proculeius and some... (full context)
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Dolabella pities Cleopatra, and admits to her that Octavius plans to lead her as a prisoner in his triumph. Just then, Octavius enters with... (full context)
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Octavius tells Cleopatra that if she surrenders to him, she will “find a benefit in this... (full context)
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Cleopatra tells Octavius all she has held back are “some lady trifles,” which she plans to give 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.” Dolabella enters and... (full context)
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...has it bite him. He dies, as Dolabella returns and learns that “the dreaded act” Octavius tried to prevent has occurred. (full context)
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Octavius enters and, seeing what has happened, calls Cleopatra “bravest at the last.” Octavius asks how... (full context)