Antony and Cleopatra Act III, Scenes 5, 6, and 7: Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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Act III, Scenes 5, 6, and 7: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What is learned in Scene 5 about what happened to Lepidus?

2. Why was Octavius angry with Octavia when she returned to Rome?

3. Octavius blamed Antony for this lack of courtesy to Octavia, but was it Antony’s fault?

4. Why does Octavius tell Octavia to turn against her husband?

5. Why does Enobarbus, in Scene 7, attempt to get Cleopatra to return from Actium (in Greece) to Egypt?

6. It appears that Octavius is looking for ways to justify his defeat and capture of Antony. Why would he want to do that?

7. Why does Antony decide to fight Octavius (Caesar) at sea?

8. Camidius says, “His whole action grows/Not in the power on’t. So our leader’s led,/And we are women’s men.” What is the meaning of this statement?

9. Who is Towrus?

10. What are the “rotten planks” to which the soldier refers in line 62 of Scene 7?

Answers
1. Lepidus, having helped Octavius (Caesar) in the war against Pompey, has been imprisoned in Rome by Octavius.

2. Octavius was angry that Octavia had not come to him with a full retinue of servants and a great deal of fanfare.

3. It was Octavia’s fault, not Antony’s, that she did not have such a retinue. Antony had offered it, but Octavia had refused it.

4. Octavius told his sister Octavia that Antony had left Athens and gone to Egypt to be with Cleopatra and that Antony had enlisted the aid of several kings to fight against Octavius .

5. Enobarbus, rightly fearing that Cleopatra’s presence would distract Antony from his military duties, tried to persuade Cleopatra to return to Egypt, at least until the battles were over.

6. Octavius wanted to be the sole emperor of Rome; to become such, he had to get rid of Antony as he had gotten rid of Lepidus. A lesser motive was to seize Cleopatra and parade her through Rome as a prize of war.

7. Antony did not want to fight a land battle until he had won a sea battle, because Octavius had dared him to fight at sea. Secondarily, Antony wanted to please Cleopatra by using her fleet in the battle.

8. The soldier observes that Antony’s decisions are not based on an honest evaluation of his real sources of strength, and that his forces are being governed, in the last analysis, by women, a statement severely derogatory to Antony.

9. Towrus is the general who is to command the forces of Octavius (Caesar) in the forthcoming battle with Antony.

10. The “rotten planks” constitute a synecdoche for “ships.”