Antony and Cleopatra Study Guide

Antony and Cleopatra

Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare

Antony and Cleopatra is a dramatization of the historical events surrounding the deaths of the titular Roman general and Egyptian monarch. The play contrasts the austerity of Rome with the excess and glories of the Alexandrian court of Cleopatra. It spans the period of time between the Sicilian Revolt and Cleopatra's suicide during Octavius Caesar's war against Egypt. Cleopatra herself is the dramatic focus of the play, a tragic figure given to vanity and scheming.

Antony and Cleopatra is a historical tragedy by William Shakespeare, originally printed in the First Folio of 1623. Most scholars believe it was written in 1606–07.

Act I

  • Nay, but this dotage of our general'sO'erflows the measure.
    • Philo, scene i

  • There's beggary in the love that can be reckon'd.
    • Antony, scene i

  • In nature's infinite book of secrecyA little I can read.
    • Soothsayer, scene ii

  • He was dispos'd to mirth; but on the suddenA Roman thought hath struck him.
    • Cleopatra, scene ii

  • This grief is crowned with consolation.
    • Enobarbus, scene ii

  • Eternity was in our lips and eyes.
    • Cleopatra, scene iii

  • From Alexandria

This is the news: he fishes, drinks, and wastes The lamps of night in revel; is not more man-like Than Cleopatra; nor the queen of Ptolemy More womanly than he.

    • Octavius Caesar, scene iv

  • Antony, leave thy lascivious wassails.
    • Octavius Caesar, scene iv

  • Give me to drink mandragora.
    • Cleopatra, scene v

  • Where’s my serpent of old Nile? For so he calls me.
    • Cleopatra, speaking of Antony, scene v

  • I wasA morsel for a monarch.
    • Cleopatra, scene v

  • My salad days,When I was green in judgment, cold in blood,

    To say as I said then!

    • Cleopatra, scene v

Act II

  • Epicurean cooksSharpen with cloyless sauce his appetite.
    • Pompey, scene i

  • Small to greater matters must give way.
    • Lepidus, scene ii

  • If I knewWhat hoop should hold us staunch, from edge to edge

    O' the world I would pursue it.

    • Octavius Caesar, scene ii

  • The barge she sat in, like a burnish'd throne,Burnt on the water; the poop was beaten gold;

    Purple the sails, and so perfumed, that

    The winds were love-sick with them; the oars were silver,

    Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made

    The water which they beat to follow faster,

    As amorous of their strokes. For her own person,

    It beggar'd all description.

    • Enobarbus, scene ii

  • Age cannot wither her, nor custom staleHer infinite variety; other women cloy

    The appetites they feed; but she makes hungry

    Where most she satisfies : for vilest things

    Become themselves in her, that the holy priests

    Bless her when she is riggish.

    • Enobarbus, scene ii

  • I have not kept my square; but that to comeShall all be done by the rule.
    • Antony, scene iii

  • If thou dost play with him at any game,Thou art sure to lose; and, of that natural luck,

    He beats thee 'gainst the odds; thy lustre thickens

    When he shines by.

    • Soothsayer, scene iii

  • ’T was merry whenYou wager’d on your angling; when your diver

    Did hang a salt-fish on his hook, which he

    With fervency drew up.

    • Charmian, scene v

  • Come, thou monarch of the vine,Plumpy Bacchus with pink eyne!
    • Singer, scene vii

  • It's monstrous labour, when I wash my brain,And it grows fouler.
    • Octavius Caesar, scene vii


  • Who does i’ the wars more than his captain can,Becomes his captain’s captain; and ambition,

    The soldier’s virtue, rather makes choice of loss,

    Than gain which darkens him.

    • Ventidius, scene i

  • I have eyes upon him,And his affairs come to me on the wind.
    • Octavius Caesar, scene vi

  • You are abusedBeyond the mark of thought: and the high gods,

    To do you justice, make them ministers

    Of us and those that love you.

    • Octavius Caesar, scene vi

  • Observe how Antony becomes his flaw
    • Octavius Caesar, scene xii

  • To the boy Caesar send this grizzled head,And he will fill thy wishes to the brim

    With principalities.

    • Antony, scene xiii

  • Tell him, he wears the roseOf youth upon him.
    • Antony, scene xiii

  • Men’s judgments areA parcel of their fortunes; and things outward

    Do draw the inward quality after them,

    To suffer all alike.

    • Enobarbus, scene xiii

  • Mine honesty and I begin to square.
    • Enorbarbus, scene xiii

  • Authority melts from me: of late, when I cried 'Ho!'Like boys unto a muss, kings would start forth,

    And cry 'Your will?' Have you no ears? I am

    Antony yet.

    • Antony, scene xiii

  • You were half blasted ere I knew you
    • Antony, scene xiii

  • You have been a boggler ever.
    • Antony, scene xiii

  • Get thee back to Caesar,Tell him thy entertainment: look, thou say

    He makes me angry with him; for he seems

    Proud and disdainful, harping on what I am,

    Not what he knew I was: he makes me angry.

    • Antony, scene xiii

  • Alack, our terrene moonIs now eclipsed; and it portends alone

    The fall of Antony!

    • Antony, scene xiii

  • Now I'll set my teeth,And send to darkness all that stop me.
    • Antony, , scene xiii

  • It is my birth-day:I had thought to have held it poor: but, since my lord

    Is Antony again, I will be Cleopatra.

    • Cleopatra, scene xiii

  • I'll make death love me; for I will contendEven with his pestilent scythe.
    • Antony, scene xiii

Act IV

  • He calls me boy; and chides, as he had powerTo beat me out of Egypt; my messenger

    He hath whipp'd with rods; dares me to personal combat,

    Caesar to Antony: let the old ruffian know

    I have many other ways to die; meantime

    Laugh at his challenge.

    • Octavius Caesar, scene i

  • To business that we love we rise betime,And go to’t with delight.
    • Antony, scene iv

  • This morning, like the spirit of a youthThat means to be of note, begins betimes.
    • Antony, scene iv

  • The time of universal peace is near.
    • Octavius Caesar, scene vi

  • The shirt of Nessus is upon me.
    • Antony, scene xii

  • 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.

    • Enobarbus, , scene ix

  • Let the world rank me in registerA master-leaver and a fugitive:

    O Antony! O Antony!

    • Enobarbus, scene ix

  • Charmain : Be comforted, dear madam. Cleopatra : No, I will not.

    All strange and terrible events are welcome,

    But comforts we despise; our size of sorrow,

    Proportion'd to our cause, must be as great.

    • Scene xiii

  • Antony: Sometime we see a cloud that’s dragonish;A vapour sometime like a bear or lion,

    A tower’d citadel, a pendent rock,

    A forked mountain, or blue promontory

    With trees upon’t, that nod unto the world,

    And mock our eyes with air: thou hast seen these signs?

    They are black vesper's pageants.

    Enorbarbus: Ay, my lord. Antony: That which is now a horse, even with a thoughtThe rack dislimns, and makes it indistinct,

    As water is in water.

    • Scene xiv

  • The seven-fold shield of Ajax cannot keepThe battery from my heart. O, cleave, my sides!
    • Antony , scene xiv

  • Since Cleopatra died,I have liv’d in such dishonour, that the gods

    Detest my baseness.

    • Antony, scene xiv

  • I am dying, Egypt, dying; onlyI here impórtune death a while, until

    Of many thousand kisses the poor last

    I lay upon thy lips.

    • Antony, scene xv

  • O, wither’d is the garland of the war!The soldier’s pole is fall'n; young boys and girls

    Are level now with men; the odds is gone,

    And there is nothing left remarkable

    Beneath the visiting moon.

    • Cleopatra,

  • 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.

    • Cleopatra, scene xv

Act V

  • The breaking of so great a thing should makeA greater crack
    • Octavius Caesar, scene i

  • The death of AntonyIs not a single doom; in the name lay

    A moiety of the world.

    • Octavius Caesar, scene i

  • Let me lament,With tears as sovereign as the blood of hearts,

    That thou, my brother, my competitor

    In top of all design, my mate in empire,

    Friend and companion in the front of war,

    The arm of mine own body, and the heart

    Where mine his thoughts did kindle,—that our stars,

    Unreconciliable, should divide

    Our equalness to this.

    • Octavius Caesar, scene i

  • For his bounty,There was no winter in’t; an autumn ’t was,

    That grew the more by reaping.

    • Cleopatra, scene ii

  • If there be, or ever were, one such,It’s past the size of dreaming.
    • Cleopatra, scene ii

  • Mechanic slavesWith greasy aprons, rules, and hammers, shall

    Uplift us to the view; in their thick breath,

    Rank with gross diet, shall we be enclouded,

    And forc'd to drink their vapour.

    • Cleopatra, scene ii

  • Shall they hoist me upAnd show me to the shouting varletry

    Of censuring Rome? Rather a ditch in Egypt

    Be gentle grave unto me! rather on Nilus' mud

    Lay me stark naked, and let the water-flies

    Blow me into abhorring!

    • Cleopatra, scene ii

  • His delightsWere dolphin-like; they show'd his back above

    The element they lived in.

    • Cleopatra, scene ii

  • Finish, good lady; the bright day is done,And we are for the dark.
    • Iras, scene ii

  • I wish you joy o' the worm.
    • Clown, scene ii

  • I haveImmortal longings in me.
    • Cleopatra, scene ii

  • Come, thou mortal wretch,With thy sharp teeth this knot intrinsicate

    Of life at once untie: poor venomous fool,

    Be angry, and dispatch. O, couldst thou speak,

    That I might hear thee call great Caesar AssUnpolicied!

    • Cleopatra, scene ii

  • I am fire and air; my other elementsI give to baser life.
    • Cleopatra, scene ii

  • Peace, peace!Dost thou not see my baby at my breast,

    That sucks the nurse asleep?

    • Cleopatra, scene ii

  • She looks like sleep,As she would catch another Antony

    In her strong toil of grace.

    • Octavius Caesar, scene ii

  • She shall be buried by her Antony:No grave upon the earth shall clip in it

    A pair so famous.

    • Octavius Caesar, scene ii

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