The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra Act III, Scene xii
By William Shakespeare
Act III, Scene xii
Antony’s messenger, a schoolmaster (the tutor of his and Cleopatra’s children) arrives at Caesar’s camp in Egypt.
Antony has sent word with the messenger that he admits Caesar is now his lord. He requests that Caesar let him stay in Egypt, or else let him stay a free and lowly man in Athens. Cleopatra has also admitted to Caesar’s greatness, and her request is that her sons be allowed to keep Egypt for their rule.
Caesar tells the messenger to refuse Antony’s request. He says he’ll grant Cleopatra’s request, though, if she exiles her lover from Egypt or alternatively has him killed there.
The schoolmaster leaves sorrowfully with the news (especially knowing how Cleopatra tends to knife messengers carrying bad news).
Caesar calls over Thidias, one of his men. He asks Thidias to try to lure Cleopatra to their side with his eloquence. Cleopatra, like all women, Caesar claims, is strong when she is fortunate. But with her fortunes down, he says, they might be able to get her to betray Antony.