Act 3, Scene 13 Notes from Antony and Cleopatra

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Antony and Cleopatra Act 3, Scene 13

Cleopatra, Charmian, Enobarbus, and Iras enter the scene in Cleopatra's palace. Enobarbus tells Cleopatra that Antony is at fault for what has happened, for he should not have let his sexual desire rule his mind. When he and Caesar stood opposed, Antony's turning and following Egypt's ships instead of fighting was a shameful act.

Antony and the Ambassador enter. The Ambassador has told Antony Caesar's response: that he will give Cleopatra what she wants as long as she gives up Antony. Antony is outraged, and tells the Ambassador to go back and insult Caesar, calling him a boy and telling him that his subordinates could thrive as well under the command of a small child, and to challenge him to a duel. Antony and the Ambassador leave to write the message to Caesar, and Enobarbus speaks aside, saying that Antony could only dream that Caesar would accept his challenge. His judgement is clearly as bad as his luck has been. He begins to doubt whether following Antony is mere foolishness, but reasons that his loyalty to Antony is a moral victory, even if Antony's side does not win the war.

Topic Tracking: Loyalty 8

Thidias arrives as a messenger from Caesar. He wishes to speak to Cleopatra alone, but she assures him that he can say what he came to say in front of her friends; for, as Enobarbus insists, they are friends of Antony, who is a friend of Caesar. Thidias tells her that Caesar acknowledges that she went along with Antony not because she loved him but because she feared him, and that he forgives her because she was forced to do what she did. Cleopatra responds:

"He is a god, and knows
What is most right. Mine honour was not yielded,
But conquered
merely." Act 3, Scene 13, ll. 60-62

Upon hearing her say this, Enobarbus leaves, saying to himself that he must ask Antony about what Cleopatra has said, and worries that he should possibly leave Antony, since his most beloved has apparently left him. Cleopatra tells Thidias that she will bend to Caesar's worthy rule, and will do what he asks in return for her kingdom. As Thidias kisses her hand (at which she recalls that Julius Caesar had done the same), Antony enters and, having been informed by Enobarbus, asks what Thidias is doing. Thidias replies that he is carrying out the orders of the man most able to rule. At this, Antony flies into a rage and calls for his servants to whip Thidias; they come and take him away. Antony accuses Cleopatra of being a whore, of lying to him and being unfaithful, and does not give her a chance to explain herself. The servants enter with Thidias, having whipped him, and Antony tells him to go back to Caesar and tell him how his message was received, desiring to make Thidias regret that he serves Caesar. Antony has been greatly angered, and he dares Caesar to try and make a servant of him leave him. Thidias exits.

Topic Tracking: Loyalty 9

Antony asks Cleopatra if she would truly give her sexual favors to Caesar or his attendants, and she answers that if that were true, let the gods take away her ability to have children and strike down all the people of Egypt as well. Antony tells her he is satisfied, and promises that they do have a chance against Caesar. The navy and army are rebuilding, and a new battle is to come. He will fight bravely and restore her faith in him. Tonight they decide to feast and drink before the battle tomorrow; Cleopatra calls their attendants to get together the lords for the celebration. They exit, leaving Enobarbus alone. He still finds Antony foolish and decides that he will find a way to leave him.

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