illustration of Antony and Cleopatra facing each other with a snake wrapped around their necks

Antony and Cleopatra

by William Shakespeare

Start Free Trial

In Antony and Cleopatra, what symbolic meaning does the word "melt" hold in the lines "let Rome in Teiber melt"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

It isn't that symbolic, actually, but a set of meanings barely beneath the surface. This is Anthony talking to Cleopatra. These are famous lovers. He is Rome to her Egypt, a land related to and defined by its rivers. Most simply he is saying, I don't care—let huge amounts of time pass, and he won't do anything, because he doesn't care. He just wants to hold Cleopatra. But we also talk about passion and lovers being hot, so he's saying things are hot—and perhaps that his Roman firmness is going to "melt" into her (they will have sex, and his erection will melt).

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team