Antony and Cleopatra Act III, Scene 1: Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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Act III, Scene 1: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why was Antony so anxious to conquer Parthia and its king, Orodes?

2. What particular function does Silius perform in this scene?

3. What did Silius want Ventidius to do?

4. Why did Ventidius refuse to do it?

5. What did Ventidius plan to do immediately after his victory?

6. What was the most pressing message Ventidius intended to send to Antony, other than informing him of the victory, and why was that message of supreme importance?

7. Ventidius says, “Caesar and Antony have ever won/More in their officer than person.” What did he mean?

8. Who was Sossius?

9. Silius says, “Thou hast, Ventidius, that/Without the which a soldier and his sword/Grants scarce distinction.” Is this a complimentary or a disparaging remark to Ventidius, and why?

10. What figure of speech does Ventidius’ use of the word “horse” in line 34 represent, and what is its meaning?

Answers
1. Antony was anxious to avenge the Parthians’ treacherous murder of Marcus Crassus, a member of the first triumvirate of Rome.

2. Silius is a “stick” who serves as a foil to allow Ventidius to explain to the audience what had transpired in Parthia and why it was important.

3. Silius wanted Ventidius to follow the fleeing Parthians, capture more territory, and win more honors for Antony.

4. Ventidius knew from his study of military history that subordinate generals who outshine their superior officers often are destroyed by those officers to prevent any chance that the subordinate should supplant the top general.

5. Ventidius planned to go to Athens to communicate to Antony his victory over Parthia.

6. Ventidius wanted to emphasize that his troops won the great victory...

(The entire section is 405 words.)