Antony and Cleopatra Act III, Scenes 12 and 13: Questions and Answers

William Shakespeare

Act III, Scenes 12 and 13: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Whom does Antony send as an emissary to Octavius (Caesar)? Why?

2. What response does Octavius give the emissary?

3. When Antony challenges Octavius to a sword duel to settle the matter between them, does he believe Octavius will accept the challenge? Why?

4. What is Enobarbus’ opinion of Antony’s challenge to Octavius?

5. What action does Enobarbus contemplate as a response to Antony’s challenge to Octavius?

6. Why does Antony order the servants to whip Thidias?

7. Did Thidias ask for mercy during the whipping?

8. Who was the “Caesarion” that Cleopatra mentions in her response to Antony’s charge that she is, for practical purposes, simply a whore?

9. What is Antony’s response to Cleopatra’s impassioned answer to his charge?

10. How does Enobarbus react to this response?

Answers
1. Antony sends his schoolmaster as an emissary to Octavius (Caesar), probably as a slap at Octavius, whom Antony considers to be a mere lad.

2. Octavius says he has no ears for Antony’s plea, but, if Cleopatra will kill or banish Antony, her plea will be heard.

3. Antony is not thinking clearly at this point; otherwise, he would have realized the futility of his offer. Octavius would be a fool to accept the challenge, but Antony, in his confused state of mind, probably thought there was a reasonable possibility that he would accept it.

4. Enobarbus, to this point one of the most loyal of Antony’s friends and soldiers, thinks that Antony has lost his power of judgment by offering to fight a duel with Octavius (Caesar).

5. Enobarbus is beginning to consider deserting Antony and defecting to Octavius.

6. Whipping an emissary is the ultimate insult to the person who sent the emissary. Antony wants to show his utter contempt for Octavius.

7. At some point during the whipping, Thidias did “ask favour” (beg for a pardon).

8. The Caesarion was a son Cleopatra had born to Julius Caesar years before. Octavius (Caesar) had him killed, thus eliminating a possible challenge to himself as the emperor.

9. Antony says he is satisfied with Cleopatra’s answer, informs her that he will attack Octavius’ forces, and suggests a massive banquet for his own and her forces.

10. Enobarbus is disgusted with Antony and begins to make plans to defect to Octavius.