Where are some instances of the fishing motif in this play? For instance, Cleopatra acts as a bait when she flees on the first sea battle in which Antony follows her and loses the battle to Caesar.  I need specific instances, lines, or words regarding the fishing motif.

Expert Answers

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One very direct example comes in Act 2 Scene 5.  It begins at the opening of the scene, as Cleopatra seeks a partner in a game of pool (billiards), but momentarily changes her mind with this line:

The actor may plead pardon. I’ll none now. Give me mine angle. We’ll to th’ river. There, My music playing far off, I will betray Tawny-finned fishes.


"Angle" here means fishing pole and Cleopatra is essentially saying, "Come on, let's go fishing so I can lure in and catch innocent fish," which leads her to thinking about and comparing these fish to Antony in the next line:

and as I draw them up
I’ll think them every one an Antony
And say, “Aha! You’re caught."


This small but pointed reference and comparison of course suggests a sense of confidence and power in Cleopatra, even while she is relaxing and playing, and missing her lover.  The mention of fishing prompts Charmain to remember a fishing trip Cleopatra once took with Antony, in which they both drank too much, and made bets on who would catch the first fish.  Later, Cleopatra played tricks on Antony because he was drunk:

That time—Oh, times!—
I laughed him out of patience, and that night
I laughed him into patience.

This scene uses the fishing motif to take a break from the main action of the play and reveal Cleopatra's character more intimately.  She is playful, somewhat silly, and perhaps a little immature.  These lines come just before Cleopatra is made aware of Antony's marriage to Octavia.  Despite the comic relief provided in this scene, by the end of it, it is clear that Cleopatra is not only deeply in love with Antony, but deeply wounded by the news of this betrayal.

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