William Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra (1607)

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Act I

Act I: Scene 1

Philo (follower of Antony) enters and introduces the plot by telling what a great warrior Antony was, and how addicted he is now to Cleopatra. Antony disappoints Demetrius and Philo with his change.

One gets the impression of the love affair between Antony and Cleopatra. She is able to dominate him because he adores her so much. They argue a lot, because The Queen of Egypt does not feel loved enough (he is married with Fulvia), and disrespects Antony for taking orders from Caesar and Rome.

Act 1, Scene 2

Act 2

Act 3

Act 3, Scene 1

This scene is set in Syria, after a victory against the Parthians, and shows a dialogue between Antony's lieutenant Ventidius and another of his followers, Silius. Silius tries to urge Ventidius into further heroic deeds, but Ventidius denies fearing that, although he "could do more to do Antonius good, but 'twould offend him, and in his offence should [Ventidius's] performance perish" (l. 25-27).

Act 3, Scene 2

The beginning of the scene shows a dialogue between Enobarbus and Agrippa, discussing the love of the triumvirs for each other in a seemingly sarcastic manner. Later it shows the parting of Antony and Octavia from Caesar: Caesar 'advises' Antony to treat Octavia well, even makes it sound like a warning. However, they part on friendly conditions. Both Caesar and Octavia are sad to part, which shows their love for each other.

Act 3, Scene 3

Cleopatra interrogates her messanger who comes from Rome about Octavia: He tells her about Octavia's unatractiveness, and Cleopatra is happy about that report.

Act 3, Scene 4

A dialogue between Octavia and Antony. Caesar has started a war against Pompey and talks badly of Antony. Octavia is torn whether to support her husband or her brother. Antony suggests that she should withdraw her sympathies from the one who first shows the aggressions.

Act 3, Scene 5

A dialogue between Enobarbus and Eros. Eros reports about Caesar's battle against Pompey: Pompey has been killed and Lepidus, who had joined Caesar in the war, has been attacked and imprisoned by Caesar. Antony's ships are being prepared to sail against Caesar.

Act 3, Scene 6

In a dialogue between Caesar, Agrippa and Maecenas Caesar tells about Antony's and Cleopatra's sons' coronation to be monarchs of several kingdoms. At the same time, Antony accuses Caesar for not having offered him his part of Pompey's Sicily and of the unjustified disposal of Lepidus. Later Octavia comes back to Rome, unexpectedly. Caesar is shocked by her plain arrival. In Athens Octavia had heard about Caesar's preparations for a war against Antony, so she came back to Rome in order to stop Caesar's aggressions. But Caesar tells her the truth about Antony, that he no longer is in Athens but in Alexandria and that it is him who is preparing a war. That is how he convinces Octavia to stay in Rome.

Act 3, Scene 7

In a dialogue between Enobarbus and Cleopatra Enobarbus points out that he is against Cleopatra's participation in the war, as she would only distract Antony. Cleopatra, however, is determined to participate. Later they discuss their fighting strategy with Antony: While Cleopatra and Antony want to fight by sea, Enobarbus points out that Caesar's fleet is much better equipped and his soldiers are better experienced in sea-battles, and that his land-army is a lot stronger than Caesar's. But Antony is determined to fight by sea, the determination seemingly influenced by Cleopatra.

Act 3, Scene 8

Caesar advises his army to fight by sea, and not to divide the forces.

Act 3, Scene 9

Antony's army is preparing for the battle.

Act 3, Scene 10

Antony's followers watch the fight: At first, Cleopatra flees with her ships, whereupon Antony follows her. The allied kings surrender to Caesar.

Act 3, Scene 11

After his defeat, Antony, being aware of his error, tells his attendants to leave him and making peace with Caesar, even offering them his treasure. After they have gone, Antony reproaches himself for the course of action. Then Cleopatra arrives and asks his forgiveness. At first, Antony reproaches her as well, but finally he forgives her.

Act 3, Scene 12

Antony's ambassador (his children's schoolmaster) arrives in Caesar's camp. Antony requests permission to either stay in Egypt or to live as a private man in Athens. Cleopatra submits to Caesar and asks the crown of Egypt for her sons. Caesar denies Antony's demands, but offers Cleopatra to fulfill her wish on condition that she either drives Antony out of Egypt or kills him. Later Caesar advises his ambassador, Thidias, to go and see Cleopatra and to win her over for his cause, with the help of several promises. At the same time Thidias is to observe Antony.

Act 3, Scene 13

After receiving Caesar's message, Antony wants to ask him for a single combat. In Enobarbus' presence Thidias gives Caesar's message to Cleopatra: He makes her admit that by Antony her "honour was not yielded but conquered merely" (l. 64-65). After Thidias announced generous concessions, she repeats her offer to completely surrender. Meanwhile Enobarbus has informed Antony about developments and his has Thidias whipped. Then he abuses Cleopatra for her duplicity. The whipped Thidias is sent back to Caesar. Cleopatra manages to reconcile with Antony and they give a last party in preparation for the last battle. Throughout the whole scene gives asides where his discontent with Antony is shown, and in the end he is determined to leave him.

Act 4

Act 4, Scene 1

Caesar plans to capture Antony using some men in Antony's service.

Act 4, Scene 2

Antony resolves to fight the next day and invites his company to a special meal. Cleopatra and Enobarbus talk about Antony's state of mind. Nobody talks to or with Antony in this scene.

Act 4, Scene 3

Soldiers hear strange music outside and think it is a bad omen for the battle to come.

Act 4, Scene 4

Antony prepares for battle and dons his amour.

Act 4, Scene 5

Enobarbus left Antony to follow Caesar. Antony sends his treasures and a kind letter after him.

Act 4, Scene 6

Caesar orders Antony to be taken alive and that the captured soldiers be placed in the middle of the field. Enobarbus tells of Alexas capture and execution by Caesar. He decides not to fight Antony because he regrets that he left him.

Act 4, Scene 7

Agrippa retreats and Antony with his company talk of their victory.

Act 4, Scene 8

Antony speaks of his victory and orders his troops to rest for the night. The whole city of Alexandria should celebrate tonight. Cleopatra bestows golden armour to Scarus for his deeds on the battlefield.

Act 4, Scene 9

Caesar's guards hear Enobarbus praying to the moon for forgiveness from Antony and a quick death. Enobarbus dies.

Act 4, Scene 10

Antony and Scarus talk about Caesar's plan to move the battle to sea.

Act 4, Scene 11

Caesar's plan to fight at sea was only a decoy and he orders his troops onto the field.

Act 5