Antony and Cleopatra Act II, Scenes 3, 4, and 5: Questions and Answers

William Shakespeare

Act II, Scenes 3, 4, and 5: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. The Soothsayer reappears here. What advice does he give to Antony?

2. Before Ventidius enters, Antony utters a short soliloquy in which he makes two important statements. What are they?

3. In Scene 4, Lepidus says to Agrippa and Mecenas, “Trouble yourselves no further.” What, in fact, is he telling these two men?

4. In the opening lines of Scene 5, to what does Cleopatra (humorously) compare Antony?

5. What message does the messenger bring to Cleopatra?

6. Why is Cleopatra afraid to hear the message?

7. With what does Cleopatra threaten the messenger?

8. How does Charmian react to the exchange between the queen and the messenger?

9. What does Cleopatra do after the messenger has exited the stage?

10. Who was the Gorgon Cleopatra mentions near the end of Scene 5?

Answers
1. The Soothsayer urges Antony to return to Egypt and to stay away from Octavius (Caesar); he tells Antony that Octavius will win over him whenever a contest develops between them.

2. The two statements are that Ventidius must go to Parthia to fight Pacorus (to avenge the murder of Marcus Crassus, a member of the first triumvirate) and that he (Antony) intends to follow the Soothsayer’s advice and return more or less permanently to Egypt and Cleopatra.

3. Lepidus is telling them that they need not accompany him to the meeting with Pompey in Sicily—that he will make the journey by himself.

4. Cleopatra compares Antony to fish that she has caught.

5. The messenger from Rome tells Cleopatra that Antony has married Octavia.

6. Cleopatra was afraid that the messenger had brought news of Antony’s death.

7. Cleopatra threatens to have the messenger “whipped with wire, and stewed in brine,/Smarting in ling’ring pickle!” Then she threatens to stab him with a knife.

8. Charmian tries to restrain the queen from actions that are totally out of order. Suddenly she realizes that she cannot control Antony as she has been able to control the members of her court.

9. Cleopatra threatens to faint, sends Alexas to learn all he can about Octavia and report back to her, and asks Charmian to lead her to her chamber.

10. The Gorgon, known in legend as Medusa, had her head covered with snakes instead of normal hair. Whoever looked upon her immediately turned to stone.