Blogs

Abridged Antony and Cleopatra/#1/Enchantment/Act 1, Scene 1

Mark Antony, a third of the triumvirate that rules Rome,
is in Alexandria, having fallen hard for Cleopatra.  The year is 30 B.C.  As Antony and Cleopatra enter, Philo, an aide
to Antony says “Look where they come.
Take but good note, and you shall see in him the triple pillar of the
world transformed into a strumpet’s fool.
Behold and see.”  A messenger
enters saying “News, my good lord, from Rome.”
Cleopatra condescendingly says “Hear them, Antony.  Fulvia perchance is angry.  Or who knows if the scarce-bearded Caesar
have not sent his powerful mandate to you, do this or that.  You must not stay here longer; your
dismission is come from Caesar.”   Fulvia
is Antony’s wife.  Caesar is the very
young Octavius Caesar, only recently old enough to grow a beard.  Antony responds “Let Rome in Tiber melt and
the wide arch of the ranged empire fall.
Here is my space.  Kingdoms are
clay. There’s not a minute of our lives should stretch without some pleasure
now.  What sport tonight?”  He tells the messenger “Speak not to
us.”  Demetrius, another aide to Antony,
comments “Is Caesar with Antonius prized so slight?”

Abridged Antony and Cleopatra/#2/Reflection/Act 1, Scene 2

We learn that Fulvia and Antony’s brother Lucius have
initiated military operations against Caesar while Antony has been in
Alexandria.  This type of irritation to
Caesar, of course, has helped lead to the deterioration of the relationship
between Caesar and Antony.  Another
messenger enters to tell Antony that “Fulvia thy wife is dead.”  Antony says to himself “There’s a great
spirit gone!  The present pleasure does
become the opposite of itself.  I must
from this enchanting queen break off. Ten thousand harms more than the ills I
know my idleness doth hatch.”  Enobarbus
is Antony’s key aide.  Antony calls his
key aide and says “I must with haste from hence.  Fulvia is dead.”  Enobarbus says “Fulvia?”  Antony responds “Dead.  The business she hath broached in the state
cannot endure my absence.”  Enobarbus
responds “And the business you have broached here cannot be without you.”  Antony snaps back “No more light answers. Let
our officers know what we purpose.  I
shall break the cause of our expedience to the queen.  It is not only the death of Fulvia, but the
letters too of many friends in Rome petition us at home.  Sextus Pompeius commands the empire of the
sea.  Much is bleeding which hath yet but
life and not a serpent’s poison.  Say our
pleasure requires our quick remove from hence.”
Enobarbus responds “I shall do it.”

Abridged Antony and Cleopatra/#3/Scorned/Act 1, Scene 3

A worried Cleopatra says to her aides “Where is he?”  Her key aide Charmian says “I did not see him since.”  Cleopatra snaps back “See where
he is, who’s with him, what he does.”
Calmly, Charmian says “Madam, methinks, if you did love him dearly, you
do not hold the method to enforce the like from him.”  Frightened Cleopatra replies “What should I
do I do not.”  Charmian, again calmly,
says “In each thing give him way; cross him in nothing.”  Antony enters and says “I am sorry to give
breathing to my purpose —-.”  Cleopatra
swoons, saying “Help me away, dear Charmian!
I shall fall.”  Antony says
“What’s the matter.”  Cleopatra snaps
back “O, never was there queen so mightily betrayed!”  Antony says “Cleopatra!”  Cleopatra cries “Why should I think you can
be mine, and true, who have been false to Fulvia?  Riotous madness, to be entangled with those
mouth-wide vows which break themselves in swearing!”  Antony calmly says “Most sweet queen —-.”  Cleopatra says “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.  Now they are still.  The greatest soldier of the world, art turned
the greatest liar.”  A taken-back Antony
says “Hear me queen: the strong necessity of time commands our services awhile,
but my heart remains in use with you.
Our Italy shines o’er with civil swords; Sextus Pompeius makes his
approaches to the port of Rome; equally two domestic powers breed scrupulous
faction; the condemned Pompey, rich in his father’s honor, creeps apace upon
the present state.  My most particular,
and that which most with you should safe my going, is Fulvia’s death.”  Cleopatra responds “Can Fulvia die?”  Antony says “She’s dead, my queen.”  Cleopatra responds “O, most false love!”  Antony says “Quarrel no more, but be prepared
to know the purposes I bear.”  Cleopatra
says “I am quickly ill and well.”  Antony
says “My precious queen, forbear.  I’ll
leave you lady.”  Cleopatra says
“Courteous lord, one word.  Sir, you and
I must part, but that’s not it.  Sir, you
and I have loved, but there’s not it.  I
am all forgotten.  Your honor calls you
hence; therefore be deaf to my unpitied folly, and all the gods go with
you.”  Antony ends the conversation
saying “Let us go. Come. Thou, residing here, goes yet with me, and I, hence
fleeting, here remain with thee.”

Abridged Antony and Cleopatra/#4/Anger/Act 1, Scene 4

Meanwhile, back in Rome, Caesar says “From Alexandria
this is the news: he fishes, drinks, and wastes the lamps of night in revel, is
not more manlike than Cleopatra, nor to think he had partners.”  Lepidus, the third partner in the
triumvirate, supports Antony saying “I must not think there are evils enough to
darken all his goodness. His faults in him are hereditary rather than
purchased.”  Octavius Caesar responds
“You are too indulgent.”  A messenger
enters saying “Pompey is strong at sea.
Menecrates and Menas make the sea serve them.”  These two are infamous pirates.  Caesar says “Antony, leave thy lascivious
wassails.  Let his shames quickly drive
him to Rome. Assemble we immediate council.
Pompey thrives in our idleness.”

Abridged Antony and Cleopatra/#5/Love/Act 1, Scene 5

Meanwhile, back in Alexandria, Cleopatra says “Ha,
ha!  Give me to drink mandragora.”  Charmian asks “Why, madam?”  Cleopatra replies “That I might sleep out
this great gap of time my Antony is away.”
Charmian says “You think of him too much.”  Cleopatra wistfully says “O, Charmian, where
think’st thou he is now?  Stands he, or
sits he?   Or is he on his horse?  The demi-Atlas of this earth, the arm and
helmet of men, is murmuring now ‘where my serpent of old Nile?’  It is what he so he calls me.  Julius Caesar, when thou wast here above the
ground, I was a morsel for a monarch.
And great Pompey would stand and make his eyes grow in my brow and die
with looking on his life.  How goes it
with my brave Mark Antony?”  Alexas,
another of Cleopatra’s aides, says “Last thing he said, dear queen, sticks in
my heart.”  Cleopatra says “My ear must
pluck it thence.”  Alexas replies “Good
friend, all the East shall call her mistress.
He then nodded and soberly did mount an arm-gaunt steed.”  Cleopatra says “Did I, Charmian, ever love
Caesar so?”  Charmian responds “O, that
brave Caesar!”  Cleopatra says “Be
choked.  Say the brave Antony.  But come away, get me ink and paper.  He shall have every day a several greeting,
or I’ll unpeople Egypt.”

Abridged Antony and Cleopatra/#6/Strategy/Act 2, Scene 1

Meanwhile, in Rome, Pompey meets with the two pirates,
Menecrates and Menas.  Pompey says “The
people love me, and the sea is mine.
Mark Antony in Egypt sits at dinner and will only make wars of
love.  Caesar gets money where he loses
hearts.  Lepidus flatters both, but
neither cares for him.  Varrius, another
pirate, enters and says “Mark Antony is soon in Rome expected.”  Menas says “I cannot hope Caesar and Antony
shall well greet together.  His wife
that’s dead did trespasses to Caesar; his brother warred upon him.”  Pompey responds “How the fear of us may
cement their divisions and bind up the petty difference, we yet not know.”  Antony arrives.  Caesar, Antony and Lepidus meet.  Lepidus counsels “When we debate our trivial
difference loud, we do commit murder in healing wounds.  Then, noble partners, touch you the sourest
points with sweetest terms.”  Antony says
to Caesar “I learn you take things ill which concern you not.  My being in Egypt, Caesar, what was ‘t to
you?”  Caesar responds “Your wife and
brother made wars upon me.”  Antony says
“If you’ll patch a quarrel, it must not be with this.”  Caesar says “I know not what hoop should hold
us together.”  Agrippa, an aide to
Caesar, says “Give me leave, Caesar.”
Caesar says “Speak, Agrippa.”
Agrippa says “Thou hast a sister by thy mother’s side, admired
Octavia.  Great Mark Antony is now a
widower.”  Antony says “I am not married,
Caesar.  Let me hear Agrippa further
speak.”  Agrippa says “By this marriage
all little jealousies, which now seem great, would then be nothing.  Her love to both would each to other and all
loves to both draw after her.”  Antony
says “Will Caesar speak?”  Caesar says
“There’s my hand.”  They shake
hands.  Caesar says “A sister I bequeath
you whom no brother did ever love so dearly.”
All but Enobarbus, Agrippa and Maecenas exit.

Abridged Antony and Cleopatra/#7/Enchantment/Act 2, Scene 2

The subject turns to Cleopatra.  Maecenas and Enobarbus talk with Agrippa.  Maecenas says “She’s a most triumphant lady,
if report be square to her.”  Enobarbus
replies “I will tell you.  The barge she
sat in like a burnished throne.  The deck
was beaten gold, purple the sails, and so perfumed that the winds were lovesick
with them.  The oars were silver.  She did lie in her pavilion, cloth-of-gold,
beyond an artist’s picture of Venus.  And
Antony, enthroned i’ th’ market-place, did sit alone, whistling to th’ air, had
gone to gaze on Cleopatra too.”  Agrippa
exclaims “Rare Egyptian!”  Enobarbus goes
on, saying “Upon her landing, Antony sent to her, invited her to supper.  She replied it should be better he became her
guest.  Our courteous Antony, whom ne’er
the word of ‘No’ women heard speak, goes to the feast, and his heart pays for
what his eyes ate only.”  Maecenas says
“Now Antony must leave her utterly.”
Enobarbus firmly says “Never.  He
will not.  Age cannot wither her, nor
custom stale her infinite variety.”
Agrippa says “Let us go.”  They
exit.

Abridged Antony and Cleopatra/#8/Counsel/Act 2, Scene 6

Antony, Caesar and Octavia enter.  Octavia and Antony have now married.  Antony says “My Octavia, I have not lived
according to the rules, but that to come shall all be done by th’ rule.”  Caesar and Octavia exit.  A soothsayer enters.  Antony asks the Soothsayer “Say to me, whose
fortunes shall rise higher, Caesar’s or mine?”
The Soothsayer says “Caesar’s.
Antony, stay not by his side.
Make space enough between you.”
Antony says “Speak this no more.”
The Soothsayer says “To none but thee.
If thou dost play with him at any game, thou art sure to lose.”  The Soothsayer exits.  To himself, Antony says “He hath spoken
true.  The very dice obey him.  I will to Egypt.  And though I make this marriage for my peace,
in th’ East my pleasure lies.”

Abridged Antony and Cleopatra/#9/Jealous/Act 2, Scene 5

Meanwhile in Alexandria, a Messenger enters and says to
Cleopatra “Madam, Antony is well.  Caesar
and he are greater friends than ever, but he is bound unto Octavia.”  Cleopatra asks “For what good turn?”  The Messenger says “Madam, he’s married to
Octavia.”  She strikes him.  He says “I that do bring the news made not
the match.”  She says “Rogue, thou hast
lived too long.”  She draws a knife.  He exits.
Cleopatra tells Charmian “Call the slave again.  I will not hurt him.”  He re-enters.
She asks “Is he married?”  He responds
“He’s married, madam.  Should I lie,
madam?”   She says “O, I would thou
didst.  He is married?”  He answers “He’s married to Octavia.”  He exits.

Abridged Antony and Cleopatra/#10/Friends/Act 2, Scene 6

Meanwhile, back in Rome, Caesar and Pompey have agreed to
certain terms.  The triumvirate and
Pompey plan to meet on his yacht.  Pompey
addresses the three, saying “To you all three, the senators alone of this great
world.  I do not know why my father,
Pompey the Great, was driven out of Rome by Julius Caesar.  What was ‘t that moved pale Cassius to
conspire?  What made all-honored, honest
Roman Brutus to drench the Capitol?  But
that is why I hath rigged my navy to scourge th’ ingratitude that despiteful
Rome cast on my noble father.”  Caesar responds
“Take your time.”  Antony says “Thou
canst not fear us, Pompey, with thy sails.”
Pompey says “You have made me offer of Sicily, Sardinia; and I must rid
all the sea of pirates; then to send measures of wheat to Rome.”  The triumvirate says “That’s our offer.”  Pompey says “Know then I came before you here
a man prepared to take this offer.  But
Antony, I would have you know when Caesar and your brother were at blows, your
mother came to Sicily and did find her welcome friendly.”  Antony responds “I have heard it, Pompey, and
I do owe you liberal thanks.”  Pompey
says “Let me have your hand.  We’ll feast
each other ere we part.”  Aside, Menas
says “Thy father, Pompey, would ne’er have made this treaty.”  To Enobarbus he says “For my part, I am sorry
it is turned to a drinking.  Pompey doth
this day laugh away his fortune.  Pray
you sir, is Antony married to Cleopatra?”
Enobarbus says “Caesar’s sister is called Octavia.”  Menas says “Then is Caesar and he forever
knit together.”  Enobarbus says “He will
to his Egyptian dish again.  Then shall
the sighs of Octavia blow the fire up in Caesar.  He married but his occasion here.”