Study Guide

The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra Act I, Scene i

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Act I, Scene i

  • Two Roman soldiers, Demetrius and Philo, are at Cleopatra’s palace in Alexandria, Egypt. They discuss how their dear leader and friend, Mark Antony, is totally smitten with Egypt’s queen, Cleopatra. Because of this, he acts less like a ruler and more like a teenager in love.
  • Cleopatra and Antony show up, and Cleopatra demands that Antony tells her how much he loves her. He does so with much fawning.
  • A messenger arrives with news from Rome, and Cleopatra taunts him that the message is either from Antony’s wife Fulvia, who’s angry about his absence, or maybe orders from Octavius Caesar in Rome.
  • Antony insists he won’t hear the message, because everything he cares about is in front of him. Cleopatra again taunts her love: she wonders whether Antony might care as little for her as for Fulvia, his wife back home.
  • Antony scolds her for being so hot and cold. They leave the messenger without hearing the message, and Demetrius and Philo lament that all the rumors in Rome about Antony having fallen off the manly wagon are true.

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