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Antony and Cleopatra | Shakespeare Unlocked

Antony and Cleopatra is considered one of Shakespeare’s later tragedies, though many get it confused, pondering it to be a historical past play. It was in all probability carried out first by ‘The Kings Males’ at both Blackfriars or The Globe theatre in 1607. Many describe Shakespeare’s Cleopatra as being considered one of his greatest and most complicated feminine characters. As mentioned earlier than it’s categorised as a tragedy however there’s argument to be made that it’s a tragedy, a comedy, a historical past play, a romance, however if you come throughout a play like that you can simply argue that it’s a drawback play, and plenty of do. Let’s check out Antony and Cleopatra.


So after we begin the play Antony, considered one of Rome’s triumvirs together with Octavius and Lepidus has been hanging out with Cleopatra in Alexandria and form of neglecting his stately duties in Rome, considered one of which is the truth that his third spouse Fulvia, after rebelling in opposition to Octavius has died.

In order that they name him again to Rome to return and assist them combat these three infamous pirates known as Sextus Pompey, Menecrates, and Menas, who’re inflicting all kinds of shenanigans within the mediterranean sea. Cleopatra begs Antony to not go, however reassuring her of his love for her, he leaves anyway.

So the three males meet in Rome, and Octavius and Antony put apart their variations. Agrippa, considered one of Octavius’ Generals means that Antony marries Octavius’ sister, Octavia, with a purpose to strengthen the bond between them. Antony accepts the supply, however his Normal Enobarbus is aware of higher than that, and says that Antony won’t ever be glad by anybody else, now that he has been with Cleopatra.

A soothsayer warns Antony that if he ever is to combat Octavius, he’s for certain, going to lose.

In the meantime again in Alexandria, Cleopatra receives information of Antony’s marriage to Octavia. And because the previous saying goes “shoot the messenger”. So she takes it out on them. Nevertheless she’s calmed when her courtiers inform her that she’s not pretty much as good wanting as her.

Now again to Rome, or extra particularly, the mediterranean sea. Earlier than the battle with the pirates the three triumvirs parley with Sextus Pompey and supply a truce. He can hold Sicily and Sardinia in alternate for serving to them to rid the ocean of all the opposite pirates. Re hesitates however finally agrees to the truce. In order that they get together down on his ship. Octavius leaves the get together early and sober. Quickly after Antony departs Rome for Athens. Later, Menas means that Sextus kill all three of the triumvirs and declare Rome for himself, however Sextus disagrees saying it could be dishonourable. Properly guess how that labored out for previous Sextus? That’s proper he will get betrayed. Octavius and Lepidus break the truce and warfare in opposition to him. Antony finds out about this later and may be very very not glad about it, some would say mad.

So he goes again to Alexandria and crowns himself and Cleopatra because the rulers of each Egypt and the Japanese Roman empire, you recognize, his a part of it. He accuses Octavius of not giving him his fair proportion of the Sextus’ lands and is livid that Lepidus has been imprisoned and kicked out of the triumvirate. Octavius agrees to present him the land however is tremendous mad about what Antony has completed.

So Antony prepares to go to warfare with Octavius. Enobarbus thinks Antony ought to combat on land the place he’ll have the benefit however Antony disagrees, saying he’ll combat Octavius at sea as a result of he triple-dog-dared him to combat there. Cleopatra presents Antony her fleet of ships to assist within the battle and he accepts. And so it’s warfare time, and the battle of Actium takes place off the western coast of Greece. However Cleoptra modifications her thoughts final minute and flees along with her sixty ships. Antony flees along with her leaving his troopers, sailors and ships to destroy. He’s ashamed at what he’s completed within the identify of affection, and reproaches Cleopatra for making him a coward, however reconciles along with her, devoting himself to her and her love.

Later Octavius sends a message to Cleopatra saying she ought to change sides. Cleopatra flirts with the messenger solely to be interrupted by Antony who is sort of cross about it. So she sends the messenger to be whipped. Ultimately he forgives her and pledges to combat one other battle for her, this time on land.

On the eve of the battle, the troopers hear unusual portents which they assume have to be the God Hercules abandoning Antony’s military. Enobarbus will get so spooked that he decides to change sides and go be a part of Octavius. When Antony finds out, as a substitute of confiscating his items which he left behind, he sends them to him. When Enobarbus receives them he feels so ashamed about what he’s completed that he dies of a damaged coronary heart.

Antony loses the battle, and his troops abandon him en masse. He denounces Cleopatra, and decides to kill her for what he believes to be treachery. Cleopatra hatches a plan to win again his love by pretending to kill herself. And so she saens phrase to him, and locks herself away in her monument, awaiting his return.

In order that doesn’t work, it as a substitute sends Antony right into a blind grief the place as a substitute of going to see her he decides to himself too. He asks considered one of his troopers, Eros, to run a sword by him and the soldier can’t carry himself to do it, so he places a sword by himself as a substitute. Antony admires this, and tries to do it himself, however as he has completed quite a bit all through the play, he fails, and solely wounds himself. Studying that Cleopatra is alive, he’s hoisted as much as her monument the place he dies in her arms.

Egypts been defeated and so Cleopatra is captured and positioned underneath a guard of Roman troopers. She tries to take her personal life with a dagger however is stopped. Octavius assures her that she can be handled with respect however Dolabella secretly tells her that Octavius is planning to parade her round at his Roman triumph. Cleopatra is horrified and embittered by the considered being some prize.

Cleopatra kills herself utilizing the venomous chunk of an asp, imagining how she’s going to meet Antony once more within the afterlife. Her serving maids Iras and Charmian additionally die, Iras from heartbreak and Charmian from one of many two asps in Cleopatra’s basket. Octavius discovers the useless our bodies and experiences conflicting feelings. Antony and Cleopatra’s deaths depart him free to develop into the primary Roman Emperor, however he additionally feels some sympathy for them. He orders a public army funeral.

Character Record

Mark Antony – Roman common and one of many three joint leaders, or “triumvirs”, who rule the Roman Republic after the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 B.C.
Cleopatra – Queen of Egypt
Octavius Caesar – adopted son of Julius Caesar and future Emperor Augustus; one other triumvir
Lepidus – one other triumvir
Sextus Pompey – insurgent in opposition to the triumvirate and son of the late Pompey

Marc Antony’s Celebration

Domitius Enobarbus
Silius – officer in Ventidius’ military
Canidius – Antony’s lieutenant-general
Schoolmaster – Antony’s ambassador to Octavius
Rannius (non-speaking position)
Lucilius (non-speaking position)
Lamprius (non-speaking position)

Octavius’ Celebration

Octavia – Octavius’ sister
Agrippa – admiral of the Roman navy
Taurus – Octavius’ lieutenant common

Sextus’ Celebration

Menas – considered one of Sextus’ naval leaders

Cleopatras Celebration

Charmian – maid of honour
Iras – maid of honour
Mardian – a eunuch
Diomedes – treasurer
Seleucus – attendant


Officers, Troopers, Messengers, and different Attendants

Notable Monologues

Cleopatra, Act 5, Scene 2, Line 194, ‘Sir I’ll eat no meat, I’ll drink not sir’
Antony, Act 4, Scene 10, Line 29, ‘All is misplaced! This foul egyptian hath betrayed me’
Cleopatra, Act 5, Scene 2, Line 315, ‘Give me my gown, placed on my crown’

Notes on Efficiency

Attempt to wrap your head across the lengthy and winding historical past that has led to this play. This play is nearly like a sequel to Julius Caesar so should you can learn that, you’ll be nicely positioned to carry out on this play.

Keep in mind for almost all of the play that Antony and Cleopatras actions are motivated by little else however one another, that’s type of the core by line of this play is that their love finally equals their demise.

Relationships and sides! Keep in mind who’s who, and who has double crossed whom. There’s plenty of backstabbing and undermining on this play so be sure you know who’s pleased with who at any given second! Even Antony will get upset with Cleopatra at one level and he or she with him!



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