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).

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial