Last Updated on May 19, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 220
Context: Twice defeated by Octavius Caesar in their struggle to gain control of the Roman Empire, Mark Antony falls on his own sword, fatally wounding himself. Before he dies, however, he is carried by his guard to the monument where Cleopatra, the Queen of Egypt and his lover, has taken refuge from Caesar's forces. Although he has twice seen victory against Octavius Caesar slip from his grasp because of Cleopatra's desertion of his forces, the dying Antony still loves the Egyptian queen, as she loves him. Her attendants lift Antony to her place of refuge, that he may kiss her once more before he dies. Held in his beloved's arms, Antony bids Cleopatra neither lament nor feel sorrow at his defeat and death. He tells her to remember him as he once was, the noblest Roman and the strongest. He reminds her that he dies by his own hand, by his own choice, and not conquered by a fellow Roman.
The miserable change now at my end
Lament nor sorrow at; but please your thoughts
In feeding them with those my former fortunes
Wherein I lived, the greatest prince o' th' world,
The noblest; and do now not basely die,
Not cowardly put off my helmet to
My countryman–a Roman by a Roman
Valiantly vanquished. Now my spirit is going,
I can no more.
Last Updated on May 19, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 221
Context: Dissension and struggle for power mark the rule of the Roman Empire by the triumvirate, Aumvirate, Antony, Octavius Caesar, and Lepidus. Antony loses influence to young Caesar when he becomes romantically entangled with Cleopatra, the betwitching queen of Egypt. When the forces of Caesar and Antony finally meet in battle, Antony is defeated. Accusing Cleopatra of double-crossing him and causing his downfall, Antony vows to kill the queen. Cleopatra dispatches word to Antony that she is dead, hoping to bring her lover to repentance. Antony, distraught, falls upon his sword and is taken to die in the arms of Cleopatra. Cleopatra faints with her dead lover in her arms, but quickly recovers and commands Charmian and her other attendants to put aside their sorrow and to prepare a noble funeral befitting the noble Roman who has died:
. . . How do you do, women?
What, what, good cheer! Why how now Charmian!
My noble girls! Ah women, women, look
Our lamp is spent, it's out. Good sirs, take heart.
We'll bury him. And then, what's brave, what's noble,
Let's do it after the high Roman fashion,
And make death proud to take us. Come, away.
This case of that huge spirit now is cold.
Ah women, women! Come, we have no friend
But resolution, and the briefest end.
[Exeunt, bearing off ANTONY'S body.]
Last Updated on May 19, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 126
Context: These famous lines are frequently employed today to convey a compliment not only to or about a woman, but, with the substitution of a few words, any skill or talent. Thus, by changing the feminine pronouns to masculine, a very accurate comment is made on Shakespeare himself. In the play, Enobarbus, friend of Mark Antony and officer in his forces, describes the beauty and fascination of Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt. He is in Rome, where he and Antony have recently arrived from Egypt, and is talking to two fellow-officers, one of whom suggests that now Antony must desert her.
Never he will not.
Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
Her infinite variety: other women cloy
The appetites they feed, but she makes hungry
Where most she satisfies. . . .
Last Updated on May 19, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 212
Context: Battling against Octavius Caesar for the right to rule the Roman Empire, Mark Antony is twice defeated, once at the Battle of Actium and again later, near Alexandria. Antony's defeats are caused...
(This entire section contains 212 words.)
by his love for Cleopatra. Twice she deserts him in battle, leaving the scene with her forces, and twice he loses a victory because of her defection. Realizing that his love for Cleopatra has cost him victory, the empire, and even his honor, Antony vows revenge, despite his love. But when Cleopatra learns of his anger she sends him the false news of her suicide. These tidings persuade Antony that Cleopatra truly loved him, and in remorse he falls upon his sword, fatally wounding himself. Before he dies, however, members of his guard carry him to the monument where Cleopatra has taken refuge. The dying Antony assures Cleopatra that he dies of his own will, personally unconquered by Octavius Caesar. That he should slay himself is proper, replies Cleopatra.
ANTONYPeace!Not Cæsar's valour hath o'erthrown Antony,But Antony's hath triumph'd on itself.CLEOPATRASo it should be, that none but AntonyShould conquer Antony, but woe 'tis so!ANTONYI am dying, Egypt, dying; onlyI here importune death a while, untilOf many thousand kisses the poor lastI lay upon thy lips.
Last Updated on May 19, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 156
Context: The love of Antony, one of the reigning triumvirs of the Roman Empire, and Cleopatra, voluptuous Queen of Egypt, has run its course, with Antony, dead from his own sword and Cleopatra from a poisonous snake. Caesar, in Egypt to carry its mighty queen back to Rome as a display for his own grandeur, views the bodies of Cleopatra and her attendants, unmarred by the venom of the asp.
CAESARO noble weakness!If they had swallowed poison, 'twould appearBy external swelling; but she looks like sleep,As she would catch another AntonyIn her strong toil of grace.DOLABELLAHere on her breast,There is a vent of blood, and something blown.The like is on her arm.FIRST GUARDThis is an aspic's trail, and these fig-leavesHave slime upon them, such as the aspic leavesUpon the caves of Nile.CAESARMost probableThat so she died; for her physician tells meShe hath pursued conclusions infiniteOf easy ways to die. . . .
Last Updated on May 19, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 156
Context: Mark Antony, one of the triumvirate that rules Rome, dallies at the court of Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, in Alexandria. Because he, a grizzled veteran general, is hopelessly in love with Cleopatra, he is the object of much gossip among his followers. Word comes that there is great unrest in Rome threatening the state, and that Fulvia, Antony's wife, is dead. Antony, enchanted by the queen's charms, knows he must break off and mind the affairs of Rome. He approaches Cleopatra to take his leave, but she, pretending to be ill and sensing his intention, rails coquettishly at him, chiding him unmercifully.
ANTONYMost sweet Queen–CLEOPATRANay pray you seek no colour for your going,But bid farewell, and go. When you sued staying,Then was the time for words. No going then;Eternity was in our lips and eyes,Bliss in our brows' bent; none our parts so poor,But was a race of heaven.. . .
Last Updated on May 19, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 213
Context: The vast Roman empire is ruled by Antony, Octavius Caesar, and Lepidus, a shaky triumvirate, filled with friction and disputes of power. Antony, enamored of Cleopatra, the bewitching Queen of Egypt, makes such a fool of himself that he loses his power in the empire to young Caesar. Antony attempts to negotiate a treaty with Caesar. Caesar refuses to consider his bargain, but does agree to a bargain sought by Cleopatra–that she be granted the crown of the Ptolemies–on the condition that she have Antony beheaded. In his extremity, Antony, deriding his opponent for youthfulness and cowardice, vowing that he will challenge Caesar to a duel, conveys to Cleopatra the message that she must send his head to Caesar in exchange for the power she seeks.
ANTONY. . .To the boy Caesar send this grizzled head,And he will fill thy wishes to the brimWith principalities.CLEOPATRAThat head, my lord?ANTONYTo him again, tell him he wears the roseOf youth upon him; from which the world should noteSomething particular. His coin, ships, legions,May be a coward's, whose ministers should prevailUnder the service of a child as soonAs i' th' command of Caesar. I dare him thereforeTo lay his gay comparisons apart,And answer me declined, sword against sword,Ourselves alone. . . .
Last Updated on May 19, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 115
Context: Mark Antony, co-ruler of Rome, is so beguiled by Cleopatra, beautiful Queen of Egypt, that he employs poor judgment in military decisions and acts on impulse rather than on deliberation. As a result, he is dishonored. Defeated in a sea battle at Actium by his rival, Octavius Caesar, he is deserted by his men. He believes, too, that Cleopatra betrayed him. But brought word that she is dead, he desires to follow her, and falls upon his own sword. Mortally wounded, he learns she is not dead. Brought to her, he lies in her arms, dying.
ALLA heavy sight.ANTONYI am dying, Egypt, dying.Give me some wine, and let me speak a little.
Last Updated on May 19, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 159
Context: Cleopatra, enchanting Queen of Egypt, is alone in her tomb with her attendants and the Roman guards. She is the captive of Octavius Caesar. Her lover and husband, Mark Antony, is dead by his own hand after a disgraceful defeat. Her imperial dreams of ruling Rome jointly with him are also dead. Caesar, impervious to her charms, promises her a future, but she sees through his scheme. She realizes she is no match for him, and that he desires to exhibit her in his triumph in Rome. Cleopatra determines upon a noble death rather than such dishonorable exhibition. She arranges for an asp to be brought to her in a basket of figs, which, when it bites, brings quick, painless death. She prepares for death.
CLEOPATRAGive me my robe, put on my crown, I haveImmortal longings in me. Now no moreThe juice of Egypt's grape shall moist this lip.Yare, yare, good Iras; quick. Methinks I hearAntony call;. . .
Last Updated on May 19, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 178
Context: The rulers of the Roman Empire–Mark Antony, Octavius Caesar, and Lepidus–force the rebellious Pompey to come to terms, and the four prepare to seal their pact by a round of eating and drinking. In the general euphoria that follows, the delightfully shrewd and cynical Enobarbus, friend and officer of Antony, greets an old acquaintance, the equally shrewd and cynical Menas, friend and officer of Pompey. Their conversation is a humorous foil to the dialogue of the four military leaders:
MENAS. . . You and I have known, sir.ENOBARBUSAt sea, I think.MENASWe have sir.ENOBARBUSYou have done well by water.MENASAnd you by land.ENOBARBUSI will praise any man that will praise me, though it cannot be denied what I have done by land.MENASNor what I have done by water.ENOBARBUSYes, something you can deny for your own safety. You have been a great thief by sea.MENASAnd you by land.ENOBARBUSThere I deny my land service. But give me your hand Menas, if our eyes had authority, here they might take two thieves kissing.
Last Updated on May 19, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 199
Context: From Cleopatra's love and Egypt's luxury, Antony is recalled to a stern sense of duty as one of the three rulers of the Roman Empire. The Parthians have invaded from the East ("These strong Egyptian fetters I must break"); his wife, Fulvia, is dead ("There's a great spirit gone."); rebellion is afoot in the West. "I must from this enchanting queen break off," asserts Antony. Cleopatra, however, has other ideas, and we now see her at work. She tells one of her attendants: "See where he is, who's with him, what he does–/ I did not send you. If you find him sad,/ Say I am dancing; if in mirth, report/ That I am sudden sick. Quick, and return." But one of her ladies-in-waiting thinks Cleopatra is going about her business in the wrong way:
CHARMIANMadam, methinks if you did love him dearly,You do not hold the method to enforceThe like from him.CLEOPATRAWhat should I do, I do not?CHARMIANIn each thing give him way, cross him in nothing.CLEOPATRAThou teachest like a fool–The way to lose him.CHARMIANTempt him not so too far; ywis forbear,In time we hate that which we often fear.
Last Updated on May 19, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 167
Context: This saying is heard frequently today in either the past or present tense. In the play, Mark Antony, one of the triumvirate that rules Rome, is deeply in love with Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, and wastes his days and nights in Alexandria. Urgent affairs of state and a threatened military action against Rome finally force him to turn his back on Cleopatra and hasten home, accompanied by his friend and officer, Enobarbus. Now, in Rome, Agrippa and Maecenas, fellow military officers, are eagerly questioning Enobarbus about the extravagances and beauty of Cleopatra. He describes her arrival when first she met Antony.
ENOBARBUS. . .The barge she sat in, like a burnished throne,Burned on the water; the poop was beaten gold,Purple the sails, and so perfumed thatThe winds were love-sick with them; the oars were silver,Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and madeThe water which they beat to follow faster,As amorous of their strokes. For her own person,It beggared all description:. . .
Last Updated on May 19, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 299
Context: Mark Antony, co-ruler of the Roman Empire, falls in love with Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt. Through a series of circumstances he ends his friendship with Octavius, his fellowruler, and the opposing forces of Octavius and Antony meet at the Battle of Actium, in which Antony is defeated. He is defeated because, at a crucial point in the sea-battle, Cleopatra and her fleet desert him. Antony, who can think only of Cleopatra, leaves the fighting to follow her, thus losing the battle, the empire, and his honor. The lovers meet at Alexandria, some time after the battle, in Cleopatra's palace. At this meeting Antony tells Cleopatra that he knows his whole cause is lost; he says, "Alack, our terrene moon/ Is now eclipsed, and it portends alone/ The fall of Antony." Reassured by Cleopatra that she still loves him, Antony recalls his courage, and resolves to try once more, with his land forces, to seek the defeat of Octavius, after a celebration. Cleopatra, in her reply to him, reveals the selfishness that is part and parcel of her nature. She thinks and speaks, not of Antony and his future, but of the fact that the present day is her birthday. The quotation supplied the title of a famous mystery story by Dorothy Sayers.
ANTONYI will be treble-sinewed, hearted, breathed,And fight maliciously; for when mine hoursWere nice and lucky, men did ransom livesOf me for jests. But now I'll set my teeth,And send to darkness all that stop me. Come,Let's have one other gaudy night. Call to meAll my sad captains, fill our bowls once more.Let's mock the midnight bell.CLEOPATRAIt is my birthday.I had thought t'have held it poor. But since my lordIs Antony again, I will be Cleopatra.ANTONYWe will yet do well.
Last Updated on May 19, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 137
Context: Cleopatra, beautiful Queen of Egypt, is in the act of killing herself. Alone with her attendants in her tomb, a captive of Octavius Caesar, she prefers to die rather than to allow herself to be exhibited to the populace of Rome as his prisoner. There is nothing left to live for since her lover Mark Antony is dead, and with him, her imperial dreams. Charmian, an attendant, is with her.
CLEOPATRA. . .Come thou mortal wretch,[Applies an asp to her breast.]With thy sharp teeth this knot intrinsicateOf life at once untie. Poor venomous fool,Be angry, and dispatch. O couldst thou speak,That I might hear thee call great Caesar ass,Unpolicied.CHARMIANO eastern star!CLEOPATRAPeace, peace.Dost thou not see my baby at my breast,That sucks the nurse asleep?CHARMIANO break! O break!
Last Updated on May 19, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 149
Context: Usually shortened to "my salad days" or "the salad days," this saying is still current, and refers to the fresh, green, early years of life. In the play, Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, is separated from Mark Antony, her lover and a ruler of Rome, who is at home on urgent affairs of state. She has him constantly in her thoughts, writes him every day, and is hungry for news of him. Cleopatra asks her attendant Charmian if ever she loved Julius Caesar so, and Charmian teases her about that earlier affair. She finally admits she is but echoing words Cleopatra once used about Caesar.
CHARMIANBy your most gracious pardon,I sing but after you.CLEOPATRAMy salad days,When I was green in judgement, cold in blood,To say as I said then. But come, away;Get me ink and paper.He shall have every day a several greeting,. . .
Last Updated on May 19, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 223
Context: After the death of Julius Caesar, Antony and Octavius Caesar, together with the ineffectual Lepidus, rule the Roman Empire. Antony, however, whiles away his time in Alexandria with the fascinating Cleopatra but, when he learns that the Empire is threatened by rebellion and invasion, breaks his passionate enthrallment and returns to Rome. Temperamentally and otherwise, Antony and Octavius are at opposite poles and are destined to come to blows. In Rome, Octavius airs a number of grievances against Antony. Finally, it is suggested that, since Antony's wife, Fulvia, has just died, Octavius and Antony might end their quarrels and cement an alliance if Antony were to marry Octavius' sister. Since Antony is scarcely free of his passion for Cleopatra, the marriage ultimately serves as an occasion for further enmity. But for the moment, and only for the moment, the marriage seems a possible source of friendship. A Roman noble, Agrippa, makes the proposal:
AGRIPPATo hold you in perpetual amity,To make you brothers, and to knit your heartsWith an unslipping knot, take AntonyOctavia to his wife; whose beauty claimsNo worse a husband than the best of men;Whose virtue and whose general graces speakThat which none else can utter. By this marriage,All little jealousies which now seem great,And all great fears, which now import their dangers,Would then be nothing.. . .
Last Updated on May 19, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 257
Context: Domitius Enorbarbus is Mark Antony's trusted friend, as well as one of his most talented and faithful officers. But when Antony decides, after his disastrous defeat at Actium, to risk another battle against Octavius Caesar, Enobarbus, seeing no other way to save his own life and future, abandons Antony to join Caesar's forces near Alexandria. Learning of Enobarbus' desertion, Antony exhibits no ill-will, for he believes that he has lost the right to his friends' and subordinates' loyalty through his own dishonorable actions, which spring from his uncontrollable passion for Cleopatra. So far from being angry, Antony even sends all Enobarbus' treasure after him to Caesar's camp. Antony's charity, and his refusal to become angry, strike Enobarbus with shame. Filled with emotion, he wanders from the Roman camp, berating himself for his disloyalty. He apostrophizes the moon as witness of his repentance just before he falls dead of shame for his revolt.
ENOBARBUSBe witness to me, O thou blessed moon,When men revolted shall upon recordBear hateful memory, poor Enobarbus didBefore thy face repent.. . .O sovereign mistress of true melancholy,The poisonous damp of night disponge upon me,That life, a very rebel to my will,May hang no longer on me. Throw my heartAgainst the flint and hardness of my fault,Which being dried with grief will break to powder,And finish all foul thoughts. O Antony,Nobler than my revolt is infamous,Forgive me in thine own particular,But let the world rank me in registerA master-leaver and fugitive.O Antony! O Antony![Dies.]
Last Updated on May 19, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 138
Context: Mark Antony, one of the three rulers of Rome, whiles away his time and his cares of state in the arms of the enchanting Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt. Messages arrive from Rome which, because of their grave importance, force him, reluctantly, to take his leave of her and return home. Now, in his absence, Cleopatra cannot get Antony out of her thoughts as she speaks to her attendant, Charmian.
CLEOPATRA. . .O Charmian.Where think'st thou he is now? Stands he, or sits he?Or does he walk? Or is he on his horse?O happy horse to bear the weight of Antony!Do bravely horse, for wot'st thou whom thou mov'st,The demi-Atlas of this earth, the armAnd burgonet of men? He's speaking now,Or murmuring, where's my serpent of old Nile–For so he calls me.. . .
Last Updated on May 19, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 122
Context: Cleopatra, beautiful Queen of Egypt, is alone in her tomb with her attendants and her Roman guards. She is the captive of Octavius Caesar. Her lover, Mark Antony, is dead. Her dreams of ruling the Roman world with him and their children are likewise dead. Caesar comes to her with sweet words and fair promises for her well-being, but she sees through his words. He wants to keep her alive to display in his triumph when he returns to Rome. When Caesar leaves her, Cleopatra whispers to an attendant, Charmian. As she does so, the other attendant, Iras, tries to hurry her with words of heavy foreboding.
IRASFinish good lady, the bright day is done,And we are for the dark.
Last Updated on May 19, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 226
Context: Once the greatest of generals, Antony has ceased to concern himself with affairs of empire because of his passion for Cleopatra. As one of his friends disgustedly notes, "His captain's heart" "is become the bellows and the fan/To cool a gypsy's lust." But now rebellion and invasion have recalled Antony to Rome, where the other members of the ruling triumvirate–Lepidus and Octavius Caesar–are in great need of his soldierly qualities. In Alexandria, meanwhile, Cleopatra awaits the return of her lover, writing letter after letter to her "demi-Atlas," for if Atlas bore the globe on his shoulders, Antony bears half of it (the other half being borne by Octavius, Lepidus being too ineffectual to matter). As a general, moreover, Antony is the protecter of men, their armor–"arm," and helmet–"burgonet." Thus, the intensity of the conflict within Antony–between his passion for Cleopatra and his Roman sense of duty–is suggested unwittingly by Cleopatra herself:
CLEOPATRAO Charmian.Where think'st thou he is now? Stands he, or sits he?Or does he walk? Or is he on his horse?O happy horse to bear the weight of Antony!Do bravely horse, for wot'st thou whom thou mov'st,The demi-Atlas of this earth, the armAnd burgonet of men? He's speaking now,Or murmuring Where's my serpent of old Nile–For so he calls me.. . .
Last Updated on May 19, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 253
Context: Antony, one of the triumvirs ruling the Roman Empire after the death of Julius Caesar, has been infatuated with Cleopatra, and, ignoring his imperial duties as well as his wife, Fulvia, has spent his days and nights in Alexandria reveling with and loving the Egyptian Queen. When a messenger arrives from Rome, Antony, to the disgust of his friends, at first dismisses him without a hearing. But then, as Cleopatra puts it, "a Roman thought" possesses him, and he recalls the messenger, who hesitates to speak for fear his bad news may "infect" the messenger, making him seem hateful to the great Antony. But now we see another Antony, one who refuses to turn away from duty or truth. He hears that while he lay idle in Alexandria, the Parthians seized, or "extended," large portions of the Empire. The passage gains in effect by contrast with the way Cleopatra later treats a messenger who brings her bad news. Overwrought, she takes her feelings out on the messenger.
ANTONYWell, what worst?MESSENGERThe nature of bad news infects the teller.ANTONYWhen it concerns the fool or coward. On.Things that are past, are done. With me, 'tis thus,Who tells me true, though in his tale lie death,I hear him as he flattered.MESSENGERLabienus–This is stiff news–hath with his Parthian forceExtended Asia from Euphrates;His conquering banner shook from SyriaTo Lydia and to Ionia,Whilst–ANTONYAntony thou wouldst say–MESSENGERO my lord!ANTONYSpeak to me home, mince not the general tongue,. . .
Last Updated on May 19, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 202
Context: At the opening of the play, Antony and Cleopatra are immersed in love and pleasure. But as messengers bring news of rebellion, invasion, and the death of his wife, Fulvia, Antony is transformed until he becomes again the great general, one of the three rulers of the Roman Empire. He leaves for Rome, where he is awaited impatiently by the other triumvirs, Lepidus and Octavius Caesar. Fearing rebellion and piracy, even Caesar, who loathes Antony, pays tribute to Antony's qualities as a soldier:
CAESARAntony,Leave thy lascivious wassails. When thou onceWas beaten from Modena, where thou slew'stHirtius and Pansa, consuls, at thy heelDid famine follow, whom thou fought'st againstThough daintily brought up, with patience moreThan savages could suffer. Thou didst drinkThe stale of horses, and the gilded puddleWhich beasts would cough at. Thy palate then did deignThe roughest berry on the rudest hedge;Yea, like the stag, when snow the pasture sheets,The barks of trees thou browsed. On the Alps,It is reported thou didst eat strange flesh,Which some did die to look on. And all this–It wounds thine honour that I speak it now–Was borne so like a soldier, that thy cheekSo much as lanked not.
Last Updated on May 19, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 108
Context: Mark Antony, a co-ruler of Rome, is so smitten with love for Cleopatra, beautiful and voluptuous Queen of Egypt, that he uses poor judgment in his decisions and acts on impulse, rather than on cool deliberation, where she is concerned. Now, dishonored by his actions and defeated by Octavius Caesar at Actium–a sea battle to decide who will rule the world–deserted by his forces, and informed that Cleopatra is dead, he feels his heart break. He asks his servant, Eros, with words that have double meaning, to remove his armor.
ANTONYDead then?MARDIANDead.ANTONYUnarm, Eros, the long day's task is done, And we must sleep.. . .
Last Updated on May 19, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 218
Context: This saying is no doubt the source for the slang phrases heard today, "Kiss it away" and "kiss it off." In the play, Mark Antony, one of three co-rulers of Rome along with Octavius Caesar and Lepidus, rules the eastern portion of the Roman world. He is hopelessly enamored of Cleopatra, beautiful and voluptuous Queen of Egypt. He remains with her until urgent affairs of state and threats to his position force him to return home. He makes alliances with Caesar, marries his sister Octavia to bind the renewed friendship, takes his new wife to Athens, but is unhappy. When word comes that Caesar has renewed their rivalry, he dispatches Octavia to Rome to smooth affairs, and then slips off to Alexandria and Cleopatra's arms. Meanwhile, Caesar removes Lepidus from power and is now Antony's only rival for control of Rome. When Antony gives Roman provinces to his twin children and their mother, Cleopatra, and proclaims them rulers, Caesar moves against him. Unwisely, Antony ignores his advantage on land and chooses to fight a sea battle at Actium. He flees with Cleopatra and loses. Two officers discuss the disaster.
SCARUSGods and goddesses,All the whole synod of them!ENOBARBUSWhat's thy passion?SCARUSThe greater cantle of the world is lostWith very ignorance, we have kissed awayKingdoms and provinces.
Last Updated on May 19, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 213
Context: With friction rather than harmony a triumvirate, Antony, Octavius Caesar, and Lepidus, rules the vast Roman Empire. Antony, whose charge is the Eastern portion of the kingdom, loses power to young Caesar when he falls foolishly in love with the voluptuous and beguiling Queen of Egypt, Cleopatra. Finally the forces of Antony and Caesar meet in battle. Antony, badly beaten, feels that Cleopatra has caused his downfall and vows to kill her. Cleopatra tries to bring her lover to repentance by sending him a message saying she is dead. Antony, receiving the false message and filled with grief, falls upon his sword. He is taken to die in the arms of Cleopatra, who says to her attendants:
CLEOPATRAO see, my women,[ANTONY dies.]The crown o' th' earth doth melt. My lord!O withered is the garland of the war,The soldiers' pole is fall'n: young boys and girlsAre level now with men; the odds is gone,And there is nothing left remarkableBeneath the visiting moon.. . .No more but e'en a woman, and commandedBy such poor passion as the maid that milks,And does the meanest chores. It were for meTo throw my sceptre at the injurious gods,To tell them that this world did equal theirsTill they had stol'n our jewel. . . .