illustration of Antony and Cleopatra facing each other with a snake wrapped around their necks

Antony and Cleopatra

by William Shakespeare

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Act IV, Scenes 13 and 14: Questions and Answers

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Study Questions
1. What advice does Charmian give Cleopatra after Antony has threatened to kill the queen?

2. What is Cleopatra’s reaction to Antony’s threat?

3. Why does Cleopatra retire to her monument (tomb)? What does this action indicate about her character?

4. Who brings the news of Cleopatra’s “death” to Antony?

5. What is Antony’s reply to the emissary?

6. What is the essence of Antony’s soliloquy after Eros has left the stage temporarily?

7. Why does Mark Antony decide to die at that particular time?

8. How does Eros avoid the bitterly unpleasant task of killing his beloved Mark Antony when he had promised years before to do so if Antony asked him?

9. What is Antony’s reaction to what Eros did?

10. What does Decretas do after Antony attempts suicide?

1. Charmian suggests that Cleopatra flee to her monument (which contains her tomb) and send a message to Antony that she has committed suicide.

2. Cleopatra thinks that Antony has gone insane.

3. Cleopatra retires to her monument for safety; Antony had threatened to kill her because her navy had defected to Octavius. Here her fear is to some extent realistic, but her attempt to learn how Antony would react to her “death” is, at best, immature. She should have known, before she sent Mardian to him, that her scheme might cause Antony to commit suicide.

4. Mardian bears the (false) sad news to Antony.

5. Antony tells Mardian that his reward is that he is allowed to leave Antony’s presence without being killed.

6. Antony addresses the queen, whom he believes to be dead, and promises to join her quickly in death, after which they will roam together through the hereafter.

7. Antony decides to die then because he knows he has lost the war, and he has been informed that Cleopatra is dead.

8. Eros kills himself instead of Mark Antony.

9. Antony says that Eros is “thrice nobler” than himself; then he himself tries to commit suicide by falling on his sword, but succeeds only in wounding himself.

10. Decretas steals Antony’s bloody sword and plans to take it to Octavius (Caesar) and use it to obtain mercy and high standing for himself.

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