Act III, Scenes 2, 3, and 4: Summary and Analysis
In Scene 2 at Octavius’ house in Rome, Agrippa and Enobarbus are discussing Lepidus. They comment about how greatly Lepidus loves Octavius (Caesar), how greatly he loves Antony, and then on which he loves more. Octavia and her husband Antony are taking leave of Octavius, enroute to Athens. Octavius weeps at the parting; Octavia is his sister, and he is concerned for her welfare. Octavius’ lines tell Antony that he does not trust him. Antony asks Octavius not “to offend him with distrust,” but Octavius does not back down. Octavia cannot reconcile her emotions with her speech, as Antony himself points out. Antony and Octavia depart for Athens.
Scene 3 takes place at Cleopatra’s palace in Alexandria. Cleopatra, overcome with insecurity now that she has a real rival in Octavia, tries to find out as much as she can about Antony’s new life and especially about Octavia. The messenger from Rome has seen Octavia and tries to answer Cleopatra’s questions. The comments of those with the queen, however, tend to be directed to what they think will please her, rather than to what the actual situation is.
In Scene 4 at Antony and Octavia’s house in Athens, Antony is angry that Octavius (Caesar) has undertaken action against Pompey without consulting Antony and without his help, thus breaking the treaty the triumvirs made with Pompey. Also, he is furious that Antony has published his “will” for the Roman people to hear. The will credits Antony with precious little kindness. He has given little or no credit to Antony in his speeches to the citizens of Rome. Octavia, seeing a potential conflict developing between her husband and her brother, seeks to go to Rome and reconcile the two men before full-scale war breaks out between them. Antony grants Octavia’s wish to return to Rome.
In Scene 2, the net effect of the discussion between Agrippa and Enobarbus is to denigrate...
(The entire section is 485 words.)