Anthony and Cleopatra In Plain and Simple English (Digital Download)
The torrid romance of Cleopatra and Mark Antony has been immortalized in countless renditions, but none capture its tragic splendor quite like Shakespeare's portrayal. However, the antiquity of the language can sometimes veil the play's sensuous and impassioned core from modern readers. This modern retelling aims to peel back the centuries, presenting the drama in all its contemporary fervor.

If Shakespeare's texts have daunted you in the past, this edition might be your bridge to understanding. Dive into a modern translation of "Antony and Cleopatra" that brings the narrative to life for today's audience.

In this unique edition, readers are treated to Shakespeare's original prose alongside its modern counterpart, allowing for a richer appreciation and comprehension of the play.

Every so often, we all benefit from a fresh perspective. Whether you're a student preparing for an exam or simply a reader yearning for deeper insight, this rendition can be your guide. As part of our mission to make classic literature more accessible, we're continuously expanding our collection. Join us in rediscovering the classics in a light that resonates with the present.






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Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra revolves around the declining fortunes of Cleopatra, queen of Egypt, and Mark Antony, originally one of the more powerful of the three rulers who formed the Second Triumvirate, which lasted roughly from the end of the Roman Republic in 43 B.C. to a few years before the founding of the Roman Empire by Octavius Caesar in 27 B.C. Antony, who was known for his dignity, magnanimity, honor, strength, and military skill, has come under the spell of the manipulative and unpredictable but also passionate and bewitching Cleopatra VII, last of the Ptolemaic line of Egyptian royalty. Both Antony and Cleopatra are large, magnetic personalities, and the extravagance of their lifestyle is juxtaposed against Caesar’s discipline and rationality. In the end, despite their immense vitality (or perhaps because of it), Antony and Cleopatra’s passion becomes their undoing, and the cooler, more controlled powers of reason and disciplined ambition prevail. 

The Story 
The story takes place in various ancient Mediterranean countries, with most of the action concentrated in Rome and Alexandria. It begins in Alexandria at Cleopatra’s palace, where Antony, who has been leading an extravagant, irresponsible lifestyle with his lover, Cleopatra, discovers via messenger that his brother and his wife Fulvia tried to wage war against Octavius Caesar. Moreover, his enemy, Labienus, is triumphing in the Middle East, and to make matters worse, Fulvia has died. Furthermore, Pompey’s naval forces have grown strong and are threatening the coast of Italy, and Pompey is capitalizing on the Roman people’s discontent with the current government. The news awakens Antony, who feels ashamed of his behavior and resolves to go to Rome at once. As his close friend, supporter, and soldier Enobarbus informs the officers of their upcoming voyage, Antony, after much resistance, manages to obtain Cleopatra’s blessing for their departure. 

Back in Rome, we meet Caesar and Lepidus, the other two triumvirs, who are discussing the problematic nature of Antony’s recent behavior, his past greatness, and the increasing danger of Pompey’s powerful fleet. Meanwhile, in Sicily, Pompey and his pirate allies, Menas and Menecrates, are discussing the same issues from their own angle. In Alexandria, Cleopatra is busying herself with writing daily letters to Antony.
Antony finally arrives in Rome, where he meets with Lepidus and Caesar to discuss his differences with the latter. In an attempt to reconcile them and seal their alliance, Caesar’s friend, general, and supporter, Agrippa, suggests marrying Antony to Octavia, Caesar’s beloved sister. They agree and, having settled the issue, turn to the matter of Pompey’s increasing threat, though without reaching any conclusions. 

In an important minor scene, Antony informs Octavia that he needs to leave for Parthia in the Middle East. As he is preparing to go with his general, Ventidius, he is warned by a soothsayer to stay away from Caesar, who is predicted as triumphing over Antony in every situation. Antony, though he knows the soothsayer is right, chooses not to listen.

Back in Alexandria, Cleopatra is furious over the news of Antony’s marriage to Octavia. Meanwhile, in Italy, the triumvirs have met with Pompey at Misenum, near Naples, where they have signed a truce. In honor of their alliance, Pompey suggests that they feast each other, and Act II ends with a drinking and feasting celebration held on board his ship.

The opening of Act III shows Ventidius on the battlefield in Syria, having just won a significant battle. He is cautious, however, not to do too much in Antony’s absence for fear of offending his superior. The scene ends as he marches his troops to meet Antony in Greece. 

Antony, for his part, is preparing to leave for Greece with Octavia. He and Octavia bid Caesar farewell and assure him of Octavia’s well-being. Back in Alexandria, Cleopatra has received word about Octavia’s various physical and personal characteristics from the same messenger who (at his peril) informed her of the marriage. 

Next, Antony, now in Athens with Octavia, has heard that Caesar has both spoken ill of him and broken his truce with Pompey. Eager to patch things up, Octavia offers to return to Rome to help reconcile the relationship between Antony and Caesar. Antony is less optimistic: he urges her to determine the cause of the problems and to express her disapproval at it, but he also encourages her to side with whomever is most willing to nurture her love. In the following scene, news has reached Athens that both Lepidus and Caesar have made war against Pompey and killed him and that Caesar afterwards deposed Lepidus, stripped him of his rights, and threw him in jail. Antony, who has already heard the news, is furious at both Lepidus’ foolishness and the murder of Pompey. 

With Octavia on her way to Rome, Antony returns to Alexandria, where he and Cleopatra are publicly crowned as Egypt’s rulers. In Rome, news of his exploits has already reached and infuriated Caesar, and Antony has moreover submitted a list of accusations concerning Caesar’s unjust treatment of Lepidus, his spoiling of Pompey, and the fact that he has retained Antony’s ships and neglected to give him his share of Sicily, which Caesar and Lepidus won from Pompey. At this point, Octavia arrives with the intention of encouraging Caesar to make peace with Antony. Caesar informs her that she is misguided—Antony is no longer in Athens but has returned to Egypt to be with Cleopatra.

From Rome, the action moves to Actium in Greece, site of the fateful battle where Caesar defeated Antony and Cleopatra. Antony’s close friend and supporter, the soldier Enobarbus, tries to dissuade Cleopatra from taking part in the battle, since her presence will distract Antony; but his efforts fail. She feels that her material support has given her the right to be there and that she will equal the part of any man. Meanwhile, all of Antony’s officers are attempting to convince him to do battle by land instead of sea, since his land forces and expertise are much stronger. He is adamant, though, his foolish reason being that Caesar has dared him to do it. The fact that Caesar has refused Antony’s dares seems to be irrelevant. The sad outcome of all this was that Cleopatra’s flagship, followed by her sixty ships, fled at the height of the battle when the two sides were close to equal, with their own side possibly having the advantage. To make matters worse, Antony followed, in spite of his military experience and ability. It was at this point that many of his followers began to seriously doubt his sanity and competency, since his actions clearly showed that he was entirely under Cleopatra’s spell. According to his lieutenant, Canidius, six of Antony’s allies, all kings, have deserted him, the troops have fled, and Canidius has implied that he is next. 

The events at Actium were both a military and a personal turning point for Antony, who was unable to reconcile the shame of his recent military actions with the man he once was. It is at this time that he begins to have thoughts of death because he feels defeated as a human being and a man of achievement. With Caesar now having the upper hand, Antony and Cleopatra send a messenger to him with their requests, but Antony’s request to live either in Egypt or as a private citizen in Athens is denied, and Cleopatra will be indulged only if she either banishes or kills her lover. Angered by Caesar’s response, Antony decides to challenge him to single combat, which prompts Enobarbus to secretly wonder whether Antony has lost his mind. 

As Antony leaves to prepare the letter, an envoy from Caesar named Thidias arrives to try to influence Cleopatra on Caesar’s behalf. When Antony returns, he catches the messenger kissing Cleopatra’s hand, and furious at both him and Cleopatra, he has Thidias whipped and sent back to Caesar. Once Thidias is gone, Antony accuses Cleopatra of unfaithfulness and doubts whether she has ever been trustworthy. She finally convinces him of her fidelity, and satisfied, he turns to the subject of war. He has decided to wage another battle against Caesar. With his courage renewed, he begins to feel better and vows to defy death and seal their place in history. Recognizing in him the valiant lover she knew before, Cleopatra encourages him. They decide to celebrate that night, and Cleopatra mentions that it is her birthday, giving them added incentive to make it a night of extravagant feasting. Enobarbus, who has heard the conversation, has renewed doubts about Antony’s wisdom and sanity; and though he has remained loyal longer than many others, he now begins to plan his desertion.

Predictably, Caesar refuses the challenge to single combat, which leaves the option of full-fledged battle. That night, Antony seems sorrowful, though he intends to fight to win. The servants and Cleopatra are mystified by his mood and speech, and even Enobarbus is almost moved to tears. Antony insists that his mournful speeches were intended to comfort, and he invites them to drink and feast.
The scene switches to the night watch as the sentinels take their posts. When they hear mysterious music coming from below ground, one soldier concludes that Hercules, Antony’s guardian spirit, is leaving him. 

The next day, Antony dons his armor to go to battle and sets off in high spirits. On his way, he meets a soldier who informs him that Enobarbus has deserted him for Caesar’s side. Shocked at first, Antony is dismayed that his foolishness has led even good men to desert him, and he gives orders to have Enobarbus’ goods and valuables sent to him with a letter wishing him well and hoping that he should never again have to make such a choice.

Meanwhile, at Caesar’s camp, we discover that Alexas, one of Cleopatra’s attendants, has betrayed Antony by going to Judea to convince Herod to join Caesar, for which Caesar (ironically) had him hanged. Enobarbus, now at Caesar’s camp, is already suffering remorse for his desertion when the news arrives of Antony’s letter and the shipment of valuables and goods. His regret now compounded, Enobarbus realizes with sorrow that he has betrayed a good and great man. Finding himself incapable of facing Antony in battle, he seeks out a ditch to die in. 

Later that day on the field, Antony’s side has waged a fiercer battle than expected, leading Caesar’s friend and general, Agrippa, to sound the retreat. Antony’s remaining soldiers have fought with all their might, and the day’s victory has done wonders for their morale. Antony himself is reassured to see signs of his former brave and competent self, and his confidence in himself and the war against Caesar has skyrocketed.

That night, a company of guards witnesses Enobarbus as he mournfully prays to the moon for forgiveness from Antony, though he firmly believes that he should go down in history’s public records as a prime deserter. Following his prayer, he lies down and dies. The sentinels, who are unsure as to whether he is dead or asleep, carry him to the court of guard (the guards’ meeting place).

In a field near Alexandria, Antony and his troops are trying to determine Caesar’s next move, which Antony is convinced will be by sea, despite his soldier Scarus’ assertion that they are preparing for both land and sea. Meanwhile, in another area, Caesar has also been watching and is aware of Antony’s movements, so he has ordered his men to remain positioned on land—the opposite of what Antony expects. The scene shifts back to Antony, who moves to a higher position to get a better look. Hearing an alarm in the distance, he sees his naval fleet celebrating with Caesar’s and concludes that they have surrendered and that Cleopatra has betrayed him to Caesar. When she arrives on the scene, he shouts at her, threatening her in his rage. Confused and not knowing what to do, she leaves, while Antony, convinced of her guilt, vows to kill her.

In dismay, Cleopatra consults her ladies, who counsel her to go to her tomb and send Antony word that she is dead. She agrees enthusiastically, and they set off for the monument. Antony and Eros, Antony’s attendant, return to the palace, where they receive word through the eunuch Mardian that Cleopatra loved Antony that she was faithful, and that she is now dead. For Antony, this signifies the end, and he instructs Eros to draw his sword and kill him as he is sworn to do. Eros, being young and tender, cannot bring himself to do it, so he kills himself instead. Awed by his nobility and bravery, Antony falls on his own sword. However, the wound is not enough to kill him immediately, so he asks his guards who have since entered to finish him off, but they all refuse. Word arrives that Cleopatra is not dead after all, but it has come too late, and Antony’s guards carry him to Cleopatra to die in her arms.  

When Cleopatra sees that Antony is dying, she no longer has any desire to live. This is intensified by Caesar’s plan to use her as a trophy in his victory parade, an idea that Cleopatra cannot endure. Caesar sends envoys to Cleopatra to attempt to influence her, but without success. By the final time he and his guards arrive at her tomb, she and her women are dead, killed by poisonous snakes that Cleopatra had ordered to be smuggled into the tomb in a basket of figs. The play ends as Caesar, now sad and philosophical at the news of both their deaths, arranges for the funeral and acknowledges that there will never again be a couple as famous as Antony and Cleopatra.


Pronunciation Key for Vowels
The intended sound is to the left; examples of words containing the approximate sound are to the right. The relevant sound is underlined in examples with more than one syllable. 
In the actual character examples, stressed syllables are indicated by the use of capital letters (for example, AN-tuh-nee for “Antony”).
Sounds are not exact, and the same letter grouping may vary slightly from one character to the next.

ah (ah or fa-ther)
a (hat)
ee (see)
ey (hey or say)
e (set)
ay (eye or right)
i (sit)
oh (oh or so)
aw (saw or caught)
oo (too)
u (book)
uh (other or blood) Exception: “us,” which is pronounced as it is in English
er  (other or fur)

Character Descriptions
The following list of character descriptions is provided in order by main characters first, followed by lesser characters, most of whose roles are nevertheless vital to the story as a whole. Most of them have specific historical precedents that function as a basis (though not the limit) for Shakespeare’s ideas. Depending on the character, they are mentioned in more or less detail in the Roman historian Plutarch’s “Life of Antony,” from his larger text of famous Greek and Roman biographies, Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans, also known as The Parallel Lives

Mark Antony
Based on the historical Roman political and military leader who was one of the three rulers who formed the Second Triumvirate, Mark Antony, also referred to as Antony, is portrayed by Shakespeare as powerful, magnanimous, vital, passionate, skilled, and at times out of control. Like many of the world’s movers and shakers, he worked hard and played hard, and his playing sometimes aided and sometimes interfered with his working. By the time the play opens, his fortunes are already waning: his adulterous love affair with Cleopatra and his generally dissolute lifestyle have strained his relationship with Caesar and are feeding the gossip mills in Rome. Though he tries at first to patch things up, his passion for Cleopatra and her unhealthy influence on him, coupled with his Roman sense of honor (or perhaps, more accurately, his pride and desperation), ultimately result in his total undoing.

Cleopatra (Klee-o-PA-truh)
The character Cleopatra is based on Cleopatra VII, last of the Ptolemaic dynasty and of the entire line of Egyptian pharaohs. Known for her charm and extravagant displays, Cleopatra made political and sexual alliances, first with Julius Caesar and later with Mark Antony after Julius Caesar’s death. As with Antony, Shakespeare portrays her as possessing extraordinary vitality and a large personality. In addition, she is enchanting, passionate, ambitious, willful, and manipulative. It is clear from the start that she has captivated Mark Antony with her allure, but by the time their fates unwind utterly at the end of the play, it is also obvious that she was utterly taken by him. Like him, she kills herself in the end, the victim of her own extravagance, willfulness, ambition, and pride; but perhaps the most potent motivation for her death, as portrayed by Shakespeare, was her passionate love for Antony.

Octavius Caesar (Oc-TEY-vee-us SEE-zer)
Octavius Caesar, also known as Octavian and, later, Augustus, was Julius Caesar’s legal adopted heir and the founder of the Roman Empire in 27 B.C. Shakespeare portrays him as being both rational and seemingly merciful (at least, on the surface) as well as cold, callous, and calculating, depending on the situation. Underlying all of this actions, however, was the welfare of his rule, including his rejection of Antony’s request to live as a private citizen; his execution of Caesarion, Cleopatra’s young son, after her death; his merciful approach to Cleopatra if she was willing to comply with his wishes (although historically, his real motives were money and power); and his placement of Antony’s former soldiers in the front lines to be shot at and killed by their former leader. Caesar’s survival as the sole ruler of the Empire, along with the fact that Shakespeare gives him the play’s final speech, seems to suggest that reason, calculation, and self-control are victorious over passion and lack of moderation, no matter how much they are backed by power and skill. 

Lepidus (LE-pi-dus)
Based on the historic Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, a Roman statesman and, like Mark Antony, a former ally of Julius Caesar, Lepidus was the third member of the Second Triumvirate. His portrayal in the play, which mirrors history to some extent, shows him to be the most diplomatic of the three rulers, as demonstrated by his constant attempts to balance his relationships with both Octavian and Antony, who were often at odds. However, he was also considered the weakest of the three, and towards the end of the play, he is deposed (as in life) and thrown in jail by Caesar, which is the last we hear of him. In real life, he spent the remainder of his days in relative political retirement.

Pompey (Sextus Pompeius) (Pawm-PEY or Pahm-PEY) (SEX-tus Pawm-PEY-us)
Sextus Pompeius, or simply Pompey, was the son of Pompey the Great (Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus), a member of the First Triumvirate and thus an ally of Julius Caesar until their later competition for rulership led to war between them. The youngest of Pompeius Magnus’ sons, Sextus Pompeius saw his father murdered upon their arrival in Egypt as refugees from Julius Caesar after he defeated Pompeius Magnus at Pharsala. In Antony and Cleopatra, Sextus Pompeius is portrayed as the leader of a great sea power that begins as the enemy of the Second Triumvirate but then makes peace with them, though the treaty is broken again later.

Octavia (Oc-TEY-vee-a)
The sister of Octavius Caesar, Octavia was modeled after her historical precedent as being the opposite of Cleopatra—modest, virtuous, quiet, noble, and moderate in her actions. Octavius Caesar arranged for her to marry Mark Antony in order to improve their difficult relationship and seal their alliance, but Antony’s passion for Cleopatra and the strain of his untrusting relationship with Caesar ultimately led him back to Egypt. Because of Caesar’s love for Octavia, this made things even worse between them than before. In real life, Octavia bore two daughters by Antony and after his death also raised the children he had sired through Fulvia (his previous wife) and Cleopatra.

Domitius Enobarbus (Do-MI-shus Ee-nuh-BAR-bus, or Do-MI-tee-us E-nuh-BAR-bus) 
The character Domitius Enobarbus bears some resemblance to the historical figure Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus, a Roman general and consul. In Shakespeare, Enobarbus is a valued soldier, friend, and supporter of Mark Antony. He is honest to the point of being blunt, and the combination of that with his comic streak gives his role many of the qualities associated with the courtly “fool” characters, whose job it was to tell the king the truth, no matter how uncomfortable. Like the historical person, Shakespeare’s Enobarbus, who has been one of Antony’s bravest and most loyal supporters, deserts Antony for Caesar and dies only a few days later.

Agrippa and Maecenas (uh-GRI-puh) (May-SEE-nus or Mee-SEE-nus)
Agrippa and Maecenas are Octavius Caesar’s two main companions and advisors in Antony and Cleopatra, and both played significant historical roles in relation to the real Octavius Caesar. Their speaking roles in the play are not large, but they are a constant presence on stage with Octavius. Being Roman military men in the play, like Caesar, they both have a strong pragmatic streak. Historically, Agrippa was a general and statesman, and a long-time friend of Octavius. In the play, though diplomatic, he seems more direct and down to earth than Maecenas, and he is the one who suggests Antony’s marriage to Octavia to potentially seal the alliance with Caesar. Maecenas, on the other hand, is portrayed as consistently diplomatic and somewhat philosophical, which may have been in keeping with his historical role as a patron of the arts and a prudent statesman and administrator. 

Menas, Menecrates, and Varrius (MEE-nus) (me-NE-cruh-teez) (VA-ree-us)
Of Pompey’s three friends and supporters, Menas has the most important role. His primary distinction, which is also historical according to Plutarch’s “Life of Antony,” is that he offered to assassinate the three triumvirs when they were conveniently on board Pompey’s ship as guests, the occasion being a feast in honor of their recent truce with Pompey. Pompey’s reply was that Menas should have simply done it and not asked but that now it was too late since he (Pompey) was bound by his honor. Disgruntled, Menas’ loyalty for Pompey weakened, and in real life he switched sides several times between Pompey and Caesar. According to Plutarch, Menas was a pirate, and Menecrates, who has only a bit part, is mentioned in conjunction with Menas. Varrius, also a bit part, appears to mainly be a messenger.   

Ventidius and Canidius (Ven-TI-dee-us) (Kuh-NI-dee-us)
Ventidius, one of Mark Antony’s generals, has a small but significant role in the play. His character represents the historical figure by the same name who effected several decisive and impressive victories against the Parthians (Persia or, currently, Iran). He is in only one scene in Antony and Cleopatra, and his role serves mainly to narrate the historical action that ties the scenes together as well as to provide a little more insight into Antony’s character. 
Canidius, also an historical figure, is Mark Antony’s lieutenant. He lost faith in Antony after his flight at the Battle of Actium, in particular because he had advised Antony to fight by land, which was his greatest strength. When Antony chose to do battle by sea and then followed Cleopatra’s lead in fleeing the battle site, Canidius defected to Caesar. This is the last we hear of him in the play; in real life, he was executed—ironically, on Caesar’s orders.
Charmian, Iras, Alexas, and Mardian 
(CHAHR-mee-uhn or SHAHR-mee-uhn) (AY-rus) (Uh-LE-ksus) (MAHR-dee-uhn)
Charmian, Iras, Alexas, and Mardian the eunuch are Cleopatra’s primary attendants. Except for Charmian, their speaking roles are relatively small but significant, and the women in particular accompany her in virtually every scene. Charmian seems to play a close, advisory role that goes beyond the part of an ordinary servant and might be better expressed as “lady-in-waiting.” Their general high spirits, directness (even with the queen), humor, and flippancy are in many ways a reflection of Cleopatra’s own style—emotional, vital, and high-spirited. Like most of the other characters in the play, all of them have historical precedents that provided a starting point for Shakespeare’s imagination. 

Eros and Scarus (EE-raws) (SKA-rus)
In both history and in the play, Eros was Antony’s faithful slave attendant who had sworn an oath that, should the time ever come, he would kill this master. When the time did come, however, Eros found himself incapable of performing the deed and instead killed himself. Scarus, the valiant soldier who fought impressively in one of Antony’s final battles, is Plutarch’s unnamed soldier, who was commended by Antony to Cleopatra. More generally, he represents the archetypal soldier, as he questions his leader’s declining judgment yet fights with all his strength to the bitter end. 

Thidias, Proculeius, and Dolabella (THI-dee-us) (Proh-koo-Lee-us) (Daw-lah-BE-la)
Thidias, Proculeius, and Dolabella were all messengers sent from Caesar to Cleopatra in an attempt to convince her to side with him. The first, Thidias, is significant from a dramatic point of view because of the mistake he made in kissing Cleopatra’s hand just as Antony walked in the room. Enraged at both Thidias and Cleopatra, who would stoop so low as to flirt with a servant, Antony had Thidias whipped and sent back to Caesar. The scene serves to demonstrate how Antony’s passions have gotten the better of his reason. 
Proculeius is the second messenger sent from Caesar to Cleopatra when the queen is already at her tomb. Although Antony advised Cleopatra that Proculeius was trustworthy, she did not believe him, and her suspicions were proved when she found herself suddenly captured by Caesar’s guards in spite of Proculeius’ reassuring words. 
The last of Caesar’s messengers, Dolabella, who subsequently took Cleopatra into his benign custody, did prove trustworthy when, at her request, he informed the queen of Caesar’s true intentions to use her as a trophy in his victory parade. That knowledge clinched her decision to kill herself, which she did between the time that Dolabella left, and Caesar and his men arrived. 

A small but important role, the soothsayer (literally, “truth teller,” also known as a “fortune teller”) appears twice toward the beginning of the play. Soothsayers were common throughout the ancient world, and this one, who happens to be Egyptian, is portrayed as being authentic. He is able to see not only the future but other dimensions as well, as when he speaks of the relationship between Antony’s and Caesar’s guardian spirits. In Antony’s case, he is more direct and urgent with his message, but with Cleopatra’s attendants, he relates only as much as they can hear.

Countryman (Clown)
The countryman, or clown, as he is called in some versions, was the person who brought Cleopatra the asps in a basket of figs. He is not a clown in the sense that we normally use that term. Rather, his character is more like a country bumpkin, and along with his obviously noteworthy job of transporting the asps, his role provides some comic relief before the play’s final tragedy. He does this by bumbling about and repeating himself endlessly until Cleopatra finally manages to shoo him out. It is just one of many instances in the play that show Shakespeare’s deft ability to mix comedy and tragedy.

The messengers, who include a soldier and the schoolmaster of Antony’s children, act out one of the most prominent functions in the play. Their role is similar to that of a narrator: they bring us news of events occurring throughout the realm, thus linking one scene to the next. Because their function is relatively neutral, they also act as a backdrop for the larger, more varied and sometimes unpredictable personalities of the major characters, thus giving us a glimpse into their idiosyncrasies and the differences that drive their fates and lead to the play’s final outcome. 


SCENE I. Alexandria. A room in CLEOPATRA's palace. Enter DEMETRIUS and PHILO


Nay, but this dotage of our general's

No, but this silly devotion of our general's

O'erflows the measure: those his goodly eyes,

Is way too much: his good eyes

That o'er the files and musters of the war

That over the business of war

Have glow'd like plated Mars, now bend, now turn,

Glowed like armored Mars [Roman god of war], now bend, now turn
The office and devotion of their view

The job and devotion of what they look at

Upon a tawny front: his captain's heart,

Are in a dark direction: his captain's heart,

Which in the scuffles of great fights hath burst

Which in the battles of huge fights have burst

The buckles on his breast, reneges all temper,

The buckles on his chest, he no longer has any passion for war,

And is become the bellows and the fan

And has become the way to manipulate

To cool a gipsy's lust.

A dark woman's lust.

Flourish. Enter ANTONY, CLEOPATRA, her Ladies, the Train, with Eunuchs fanning her

Look, where they come:

Look, see them come:

Take but good note, and you shall see in him.

Just pay attention, and you will see it in him.

The triple pillar of the world transform'd

The ruler and strength of the world transformed
Into a strumpet's fool: behold and see.

Into a slut's fool: look and see.


If it be love indeed, tell me how much.

If it really is love, tell me how much.


There's beggary in the love that can be reckon'd.

Any love that could easily be summarized is not much at all.


I'll set a bourn how far to be beloved.

I'll send a ship as far as your love.


Then must thou needs find out new heaven, new earth.

Then you would have to find a new heaven, a new earth.

Enter an Attendant


News, my good lord, from Rome.

There is news, sir, from Rome.


Grates me: the sum.

I'm busy: be brief.


Nay, hear them, Antony:

No, listen to them, Antony:

Fulvia perchance is angry; or, who knows

It is possible Fulvia is angry; or, who knows

If the scarce-bearded Caesar have not sent

If the thinly-bearded Caesar has not sent

His powerful mandate to you, 'Do this, or this;

His powerful orders to you, "Do this, or this;

Take in that kingdom, and enfranchise that;

Conquer that kingdom, and make that happen;

Perform 't, or else we damn thee.'

Perform it, or else we condemn you."


How, my love!

How, my love?


Perchance! nay, and most like:

Possibly! And even more likely,

You must not stay here longer, your dismission

You must not stay here longer, your order to leave

Is come from Caesar; therefore hear it, Antony.

Has come from Caesar; so listen to it, Antony.

Where's Fulvia's process? Caesar's I would say? both?

Where is Fulvia's procession? Or I should say Caesar's? Both?

Call in the messengers. As I am Egypt's queen,

Call in the messengers. As truly as I am Egypt's queen,

Thou blushest, Antony; and that blood of thine

You blush, Antony; and that blood of yours

Is Caesar's homager: else so thy cheek pays shame

Honors Caesar: or else your cheek shows shame

When shrill-tongued Fulvia scolds. The messengers!

When sharp-tongued Fulvia scolds. The messengers!


Let Rome in Tiber melt, and the wide arch

May Rome melt in the summer, and the wide arch

Of the ranged empire fall! Here is my space.

Of the boundaries of the empire fall! Here is my place.

Kingdoms are clay: our dungy earth alike

Kingdoms are just dirt: our common soil

Feeds beast as man: the nobleness of life

Feeds animals the way it does humans: the noble thing in life

Is to do thus; when such a mutual pair

Is to act like this; when such a well-matched pair


And such a twain can do't, in which I bind,

And two such people can do it, in which I tie together,

On pain of punishment, the world to weet

Even at the risk of punishment, to the world

We stand up peerless.

We are without compare.


Excellent falsehood!

What a sweet lie!

Why did he marry Fulvia, and not love her?

Why did he marry Fulvia, only to betray her?

I'll seem the fool I am not; Antony

I'll seem more foolish than I am; Antony

Will be himself.

Will be himself.


But stirr'd by Cleopatra.

But inspired by Cleopatra.

Now, for the love of Love and her soft hours,

Now, for the love of Love and her pleasant times,

Let's not confound the time with conference harsh:

Let's not spoil things with serious business:

There's not a minute of our lives should stretch

There isn't a minute of our lives that should go by

Without some pleasure now. What sport tonight?

Without some pleasure now. What fun shall we have tonight?


Hear the ambassadors.

Listen to the ambassadors.


Fie, wrangling queen!

Oh come on, bossy queen!

Whom every thing becomes, to chide, to laugh,

Who has become everything, to scold, to laugh,

To weep; whose every passion fully strives

To cry; whose every emotion tries its best

To make itself, in thee, fair and admired!

To make itself, in you, beautiful and admired!

No messenger, but thine; and all alone

No messenger but you; and all alone

To-night we'll wander through the streets and note

Tonight we'll wander through the streets

The qualities of people. Come, my queen;

And observe the people. Come, my queen;

Last night you did desire it: speak not to us.

Last night you wanted it: do not talk to us.

Exeunt MARK ANTONY and CLEOPATRA with their train


Is Caesar with Antonius prized so slight?

Does Antony value Caesar so little?


Sir, sometimes, when he is not Antony,

Sir, sometimes, when he is not being himself,

He comes too short of that great property

He comes up short of the mark

Which still should go with Antony.

That should be expected of him.
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