Complete summary of William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra. eNotes plot summaries cover all print Print; document PDF. This Page Only · Entire Study. Synopsis 6. The Path Guy 7. Anticipation Guide 8. Reading the Play Like all of Shakespeare's plays, even though Antony and Cleopatra was .. http:// . Antony and Cleopatra is a tragic play by William Shakespeare first performed in Read a Plot Overview of the entire play or a scene by scene Summary and.

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Antony and Cleopatra study guide contains a biography of William e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and. Get all the key plot points of William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra Get the entire Antony and Cleopatra LitChart as a printable PDF. Summary. Introduction. Antony and Cleopatra is one of Shakespeare's best In Antony, Cleopatra, and Augustus Caesar, Shakespeare depicts characters that.

Cleopatra sends a servant named Alexas to find Antony. She tells Alexas that if he seems happy, she should tell him Cleopatra is sad, and if he seems sad that she is happy. Antony tells Cleopatra that he must leave, and she is angry with him. She doubts his love for her and says that he is betraying her, but he tells her it is his duty to go to Rome. He promises her that the distance between them will not affect his love for her. He says that Antony has become womanly because of his relationship with the manly Cleopatra.

He wishes Antony would return, as Pompey is gaining power and becoming dangerous. Back in Egypt, Cleopatra passes time at her court with her servants and a eunuch named Mardian. Cleopatra is happy to receive this sign of his affection and resolves to send him a letter every day. Sextus Pompey discusses strategy with his followers Menas and Menecrates. He tells Menas that Octavius and Antony, though not fond of each other, will be united as allies by their common enemy in Pompey. Antony arrives in Rome and Octavius chastises him for neglecting his duties and ignoring the messengers he has sent to Egypt.

Everyone agrees to the plan, and Octavius and Antony go to find Octavia. Octavius introduces Antony to Octavia, and he promises to be faithful to her. Antony talks with the soothsayer, who advises him to go back to Egypt. Antony makes plans to return to Egypt, and sends his man Ventidius to take care of some matters in Parthia.

Lepidus, Maecenas, and Agrippa discuss their plans to meet and fight against Pompey. Back in Egypt, Cleopatra receives a messenger from Antony. She keeps interrupting him and hardly lets him speak, but he at last delivers his message, that Antony has married Octavia.


Cleopatra is furious and takes out her anger on the messenger. She sends Alexas to go find Octavia and see what she looks like. Menas tells Enobarbus he thinks the marriage between Antony and Octavia will keep Antony and Octavius together, but Enobarbus says he doubts it will.

Menas whispers to Pompey that he could kill all his guests and take control of all of Rome, but Pompey says this would be dishonorable. Menas is annoyed that Pompey is not taking advantage of the situation, and decides to desert him. The feast continues and everyone drinks raucously, until Octavius says he has indulged in enough fun and departs.

Meanwhile, in Parthia, Ventidius wins a military victory for Antony. Back in Rome, Octavia weeps at having to leave her brother and go with Antony to Athens. Octavius sadly but without crying bids farewell to his sister.

Octavia says she will go to Rome to try to mend the rift between Antony and Octavius. Now, the world is divided between Antony and Octavius. Against the advice of his commander Canidius, Antony decides to fight Octavius at sea. A soldier begs him to reconsider, but he remains stubborn. Antony also prepares his forces for battle. They are evenly matched and there is no clear winner, but Cleopatra flees. Antony sees this and follows her, effectively conceding the battle.

He is frustrated with Cleopatra and thinks that he will surrender to Octavius. He sends an ambassador to Octavius, who tells the ambassador that he will show no mercy to Antony, but will pardon Cleopatra if she will either kill Antony or drive him out of Egypt.

Octavius sends a messenger named Thidias to go and promise Cleopatra gifts in an attempt to persuade her to leave Antony for Octavius. Enobarbus thinks this is a ridiculous plan and starts to wonder whether he should remain loyal to Antony. Thidias arrives and tells Cleopatra that Octavius will look kindly on her if she should leave Antony. A Study Guide for Teachers. A Study Guide for Teachers Laura Facciponti. Teachers of English, history, political science, social studies, geog- raphy, mythology, and drama may all benefit from the themes explored in this play.

The play, therefore, provides many opportunities for cross-curricular study. The very mention of the two title characters, Antony and Cleopatra, conjures images of love and the desperate measures taken in pursuit of love.

With either interpretation, the play offers a compelling love story that will intrigue students of any age or skill level. Additional themes of divided power, battles with formidable forces, and manipulative enemies and subordinates pro- vide suspense and action.

After all, plays are written to be performed and observed, not just read. The guide provides historical context and a plot synopsis. Her capitol city, Alexandria, was considered the greatest cultural and commercial center in the eastern Mediterranean. After his victory over the assassins, Mark Antony joined with Octavius Caesar and Lepidus, men who had remained loyal to Julius Caesar, and formed a joint rulership of the entire Roman Empire.

They divided the Empire into three provinces: As the play begins, it is 41 B. Although recognized as a brave soldier and eloquent speaker, Mark Antony also has quite the reputation as a ladies man and a great appreciator of a good game and a witty joke. While Mark Antony readies his troops for battle, he commands Queen Cleopatra to appear before him when he arrives in Cilicia, a country in Asia Minor close to the occupied areas of Parthia.

He plans to provoke Cleopatra by accusing her of aiding Cassius and Brutus in their earlier war against him, but Cleopatra has other plans for Antony. Her barge is decorated with gleaming gold and propelled by servants rowing silver oars to the sounds of enchanting music. She drapes herself in gold robes and is fanned by young boys dressed as cupids. Her ladies-in-waiting, dressed as beauti- ful mermaids, steer the helm and tend the tackle. As she arrives, large crowds flock to the dock, drawn by the music and the exotic perfumes that fill the air.

The people rumor that Venus has come to play with the god Bacchus, and it is here that the tale of Antony and Cleopatra begins. Then Antony learns from a messenger that his wife and his brother Lucius were the cause of the unrest in Italy and had engaged in battle with Octavius Caesar. She rants and raves to Antony about love and devotion and accuses him of not loving her fully.

But as quickly as the tides turn, Cleopatra begs his forgiveness for her outbursts and wishes him victory. Antony departs for Rome, but Cleopatra knows he will return to her I,iii.

In Rome, Octavius Caesar condemns Antony for being self-indulgent, living a debauched life in Alexandria and neglecting his duties to Rome, but Lepidus is softer in his judgement of Antony.

A messenger announces that Sextus Pompeius has gained allegiance from many Romans, and that his allies, the pirates of Menecrates and Menas, threaten the borders of Italy.

Octavius and Lepidus hope Antony will return to his position and unite the triumvirate in a combined war against the Parthians I,iv.

The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra

She boasts of how she enchanted both Julius Caesar and Gnaeus Pompey in the past, and to seal her deal with Antony, she sets out to return her love to Antony in a letter I,v.

In Sicily, Pompey waits for a sign from the gods that he should make his final move for power over the triumvirate. Antony returns to Rome and is met by a furious Octavius Caesar who accuses Antony of inciting the war in Italy.

To prove his devotion and seal their alliance, Antony agrees, and Octavius consents to an immedi- ate wedding, before the attack on Pompey II,iii. A messenger comes to tell Cleopatra that Antony is to marry Octavia. He later returns and, having learned from his previous encounter with Cleopatra, describes Octavia in the most unflattering way so as to please Cleopatra and escape further beatings.

Satisfied, Cleopatra commends the servant on his graphic descriptions III,iii. Meanwhile in Italy, after some negotiations, Pompey agrees to peace and invites his past enemies on board his ship for a banquet.

Many side discussions ensue concerning the battles, the questionable future of Antony and Octavia, and persistent doubts about a united triumvirate. Lepidus drinks too much and the servants mock him while Menas, a pirate unhappy with the treaty, pulls Pompey aside and offers to cut the throats of Antony, Lepidus, and Caesar. Pompey refuses to con- spire with Menas, but Pompey admits that he would have commended him had Menas done the deed without his knowl- edge II, vii.

No sooner does the couple arrive in Athens than they learn of new trouble, stirred this time by Octavius Caesar.

Caesar has broken the treaty and declared war on Pompey. Antony is enraged when he learns of this deceit and demands that Lepidus be deposed and his revenue divided between Caesar and Antony. Meanwhile, Octavia returns to Rome. Antony decides to fight Caesar at sea, which Cleopatra supports, but others advise against such a strategy. Antony loses the battle in disgrace. He offers his treasure to them as compensation.

Softened by her heartfelt plea, Antony forgives her III,xi. Through the messages of his ambassador, Antony requests that Caesar allow him to live in Egypt with Cleopatra. If not, Antony asks that Ceasar grant him leave to carry on a private life in Athens. Cleopatra also surrenders to Caesar and asks that the crown of the Ptolemies Egypt be reserved for her heirs.

Caesar sends his officer Thidias to win Cleopatra. Humiliated, Thidias scurries back to Caesar. Antony accuses Cleopatra of being a faithless strumpet, but she swears her loyalty and he, once more, forgives her. Antony declares a last night of revelry before the final battle, where he has prom- ised to fight Caesar to the death III,xiii. Antony prepares for battle and bids a tearful farewell to his loyal servants IV,ii.

While in battle camp he learns that the loyal Enobarbus has deserted him at last. He forgives Enobarbus and sends his belongings after him along with a number of additional gifts IV, v.

Antony returns to Alexandria and a proud Cleopatra IV,viii. Antony leaves Alexandria to observe the battle, and then returns, enraged. He has been betrayed! Irreconcilable, he accuses Cleopatra of betrayal and vows to kill her IV,xii.

Fearing for her life, Cleopatra locks herself high in her monument. He orders Eros to make one final act as his ser- vant and kill him. Reluctantly, Eros draws his sword, but asks Antony to turn away as he does this hateful deed. At the last moment, Eros kills himself instead. Antony impales himself on his own sword but fails to strike a fatal wound.

Guards swarm into the room and halt his further attempts at suicide. Fearing capture by Octavius, Cleopatra refuses to leave the monument. Instead, she bids her ladies to lift Antony up to her. He dies in her arms. Overcome by the loss of her lover, Cleopatra vows to take her own life IV,xv.

An Egyptian servant arrives asking Caesar what will become of Cleopatra. Caesar assures the servant that he will treat Cleopatra gently and with dignity. But she fears the servant is untrustworthy and attempts to kill herself with a dagger.

Antony and Cleopatra

She invites into her chambers a trusted countryman who arrives with a basket of figs in which he has concealed several poisonous asps. As Cleopatra bids farewell to her ladies, Iras and Charmian, Iras sudden- ly falls dead at her feet. Worried that her attendant will meet Antony in death before she does, Cleopatra quickly clutch- es an asp to her breast. She applies another to her arm and soon dies from their bites.

Charmian applies the last asp to herself and dies. He orders her burial next to Antony in honorable graves accompanied with great ceremony V,ii.

They should become familiar with the famous tales of Julius Caesar, Marcus Antony, and Queen Cleopatra, which were well known to Elizabethans. Students should become acquainted with the topographical world in 44 b. An understanding of the effects of iambic pentameter and purposeful switches to prose to imply character, class, subtext, and action is essential for higher levels of literary appreciation and understanding.

Following is a list of exercises and assignments that will support this manner of text and content exploration. Any of the exercises may be expanded or adapted as time and facilities allow. One large map of the Roman Empire and its surrounding territories in approximately 41 b. To be used as a game board. Alternately, if more familiar geography is preferred, use a map of the United States with Canada, and Mexico as the surrounding territories and the U.

Five large game pieces to represent five leaders and 60 smaller game pieces to represent five armies of 12 pieces each.

William Shakespeare

Either chess or checkers pieces, coins or toy soldiers are recommended as game pieces. Strategy Cards made by writing individual strategies on index cards suggestions for strategy statements below. Small pieces of scrap paper and pens or pencils to write Declarations. If numbers do not work out evenly, assign a sixth person to the group to act as the mediator who requests Declarations and hands out Strategy Cards.

Each ruler receives an army, represented by 12 game pieces. Divide Power and Territories amongst five Rulers. Round One: Round Two: Round Three: Leaders with the most game pieces are announced as winners. To start the game, the Triumvirate divides the Roman Empire into three territories of sub-rule. To play each round: Use the Strategy Card to influence your Declaration and strategy during the round. The contents of the notes are not to be known until all three rounds are complete.

Once declarations are made there is no turning back. Examples of Declaration Statements given below. Armies placed in war will either win or lose soldiers. Those that stay at home and are not attacked, lose nothing, but gain nothing. If you do not combine forces and armies are equal, the round is a draw.

Declarations are to be made as announcements of battle, retreat, wishes for peace, and for forming an ally with another Ruler. As any good storyteller does, he took artistic license with these tales and made his own adaptations of the original.

So, too, could the students. This can be a lengthy and creative exercise where students invest in the possibilities and methods of storytelling. Tragedy—a serious play typically dealing with the problems of a central character, or protagonist, leading to an unhappy or disastrous ending brought on by fate and a tragic flaw in the main character 2. Hubris—wanton insolence or arrogance resulting from excessive pride or from passion 3.

Foreshadowing—to indicate or suggest beforehand 4. Catharsis—the purifying of the emotions or relieving of emotional tensions 6. Plot—the arrangement of dramatic incidents 2.

Characters—the people represented in the play 3. Thought or Theme—the ideas explored 4. Language—the dialogue and poetry 5. Music—the choral odes specific to Greek plays 6. They can explore transportation, styles of dress, methods of war as well as uniforms and arms. This provides students with clear visual images of the characters and their lifestyles.

Likewise, they will begin to understand how long it took to move armies from place to place. Students can place this chart next to the script as they read the play and keep track of the loyalties of the minor characters.

As minor characters betray their leaders, retreat or die, students can either cross out or move them to other columns, keeping track of power shifts. For example: Can students form their own opinions of these interpretations? If so, how do they interpret them? Discuss interpretations of scenes and char- acter motivations. Have them rehearse, practicing voice, inflection, and emotion.

They can prepare an introduction to the scene, set the stage, and then read the scene aloud with their practiced interpretations while the rest of the class attempts to summarize the scene in writing. The class can then discuss perceived interpretations gained through these presentations.

For example, in Act IV, scene xv, Cleopatra is in her monument with her ladies. She asks them to help lift the dying Antony up to her so that she will not have to leave the safety of her monument.

Assign this same scene to a few different individuals or groups and compare inter- pretations and solutions to its staging challenge. Elizabethan theater practitioners had to be quite cre- ative using inexpensive devices to create magic and action on stage. This activity reinforces the live action and stage sounds of drama, as well as introduces students to simplified staging devices as a means of bringing a play to life.

Assign small groups to specific scenes from the play. Provide each group with a cassette recorder.

Antony and Cleopatra Notes

Have students practice reading the scenes aloud, playing specific characters and providing sound effects. Have students record the scenes as a mini radio play. Groups then play their scenes in sequence. Give each group one or two dis- covery questions to guide their exploratory work on the scene. Then have each group read the scene aloud and dis- cuss their interpretations. ACT I 1. Why are Antony and Cleopatra attracted to each other?

Why does Shakespeare include the warnings of a soothsayer? How does this add to the plot of the traditional tragedy? Why is he so conflicted? Is this an unusual personali- ty trait? Is it a weakness?

Explain the loyalties of each member of the triumvirate. Which of the three leaders appears to be the most powerful at this point in the play? How does the power shift? Cleopatra and Charmian compare methods of keeping a man. In which scene does Cleopatra win such a battle? When does Antony win? How does the status of each person shift when they are together? What are the unspoken thoughts of Antony and Cleopatra? How do the spoken words vary from the unspoken?

What evidence points towards these subtextual truths? Cleopatra is a woman of many tactics. What tactics does she use to get what she wants from Antony, her servants, and later from Caesar? Are her dramatic mood swings emotional outbursts? Or are they manipulative strategies as well? How does it change throughout the play? How does life in Egypt differ from life in Rome?

Why do these differences attract Antony to Egypt? How trustworthy is Cleopatra? Should Antony trust her as an ally? Is she truthful? To whom? Antony and Cleopatra are quite public with their private affair. How do the Romans look at such public behavior? How would contemporary U. Would the reactions be the same in other cultures?

How are messengers and followers treated differently by Caesar, Antony, and Cleopatra? Who seems to be the most benev- olent, hostile, or respectful in such relationships? What does this say about each character?

Octavius Caesar is spoken of many times before he actually makes an appearance. What impressions of Caesar are creat- ed before he arrives in the play? Does he fulfill those impressions? ACT II 1. Why does Pompey believe that he can win a war against the triumvirate? What part does Cleopatra play in raising his expectations for victory? In Act II, scene ii, Antony and Caesar have an argument filled with accusations and statements of self-defense. Who is to blame for the unrest in Italy and the war against Caesar?

Who wins the argument? Caesar and Antony reconcile their differences. How sincere is this reconciliation? Who plans the marriage between Octavia and Antony? Caesar or Agrippa? How does he regard her beauty and charms? Is he fearful of her power over Antony?

A soothsayer appears for a second time in the play. What are his warnings and what references are made to the supernat- ural as proof of his predictions? Which mood most accurately portrays her true personality?

Pompey and the triumvirate finally meet face to face. How does each leader feel about the outcome of the meet- ing?

The Soothsayer warned Antony that his angel would be overpowered if he stays in Rome. Who seems to overshadow Antony?His Life and Times: As for my wife, I would you had her spirit in such another: Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare.

To whom? He promises her that the distance between them will not affect his love for her. Antony's presence is enough to frighten Pompey into submission.

What opinions do fellow soldiers have of Lepidus? What would have happened to him had he killed Antony?

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