Study Guide

The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra Act III, Scene xi

By William Shakespeare

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Act III, Scene xi

  • Antony, back at Cleopatra’s palace in Alexandria, cries out in shame.
  • He laments that he’s lost to the world forever, and insists that his friends go to a ship he has left full of gold, divide up the spoils, and follow his example by fleeing.
  • He says his lesser parts have defeated his nobler intuitions, and he has lost command (of himself and his men). Overall, he’s kind of a wreck.
  • Cleopatra enters.
  • Antony is busy recounting what a noble soldier he used to be, like that time he oversaw the death of Brutus and Cassius. These victories are mitigated by his present shame.
  • Cleopatra goes to comfort him, with her head hung and looking the very picture of shame.
  • He asks her how she could lead him to this, and she is full of apologies—she ran away because she was frightened, and never thought he would follow her.
  • He responds in despair. His heart was tied to her rudder; he had to follow because his love for her rules his spirit.
  • She’s really sorry, it seems, but Antony now has to worry about seeking pardon from Caesar, which is sad since not too long ago he ruled half the world.
  • Still, Cleopatra has power over him; he asks her for a kiss, as this will repay him for all the wrongs.
  • He calls for wine and is determined to make merry. Antony chooses to deliberately ignore all the signs that the entire endeavor against Caesar is cursed.

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