William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra in the complete original text.
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Antony and Cleopatra

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Antony and Cleopatra Play

Antony and Cleopatra begins with just Antony and Octavius Caesar (also called Caesar) ruling the entire Western world, Lepidus the third member of the Roman trumviarate leaving. Antony, in theory rules the eastern Roman empire, but though married to Fluvia, chooses to live in Alexandria, Egypt with his mistress, Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt. Octavius is not impressed.... Caesar (Octavius) feels his friend is too distracted by the Egyptian Queen and perhaps his interests no longer lie where they should as Antony spends more and more time with Cleopatra... Octavius summons Antony back to Rome, Antony refusing, only returning to Rome under the threat of war with Pompey and when his wife Fulvia dies.

Back in Rome, the two rulers of the Roman empire try to make peace again through the marriage of Octavius' sister Octavia to Antony. This only delays a growing tension between the two rulers. Trouble between the two quickly returns when Antony abandons Octavia to be with his lover once more. Furious at this affront, Caesar decides to settle this with his army, determined to take back Egypt in revenge.

With the stronger and more experienced army, Caesar quickly starts to defeat his old friend. Octavia tries to end this feud but is once again abandoned by her husband for his mistress. Octavius is now even more enraged. Cleopatra, meanwhile convinces her lover to accept Caesar's challenge to fight not on land but at sea, Antony ignoring the advise of his aides suggesting he should do otherwise. During the epic naval battle, Cleopatra deserts the battlefield, Antony foolishly following, giving Caesar victory at the Battle of Actium.

Now in a postion of strength, Caesar refuses his old friend's pleas for peace instead trying to break up Antony and Cleopatra by allowing Cleopatra to remain Queen of Egypt should she kill her lover. Cleopatra does not agree, Caesar's army fighting his friend and now rival on land to Caesar's ultimate defeat, the two facing off the next day. When Egyptian forces retreat once again from the battlefield, Antony calls his lover a traitor and threatens to kill her.

To save her life, Cleopatra runs to her tomb, telling her attendants to proclaim her death. Caesar has victory in sight, Antony's best friend Enobarbus, even abandoning him to join Caesar's side. Stung with guilt, Enobarbus kills himself soon thereafter. Knowing he will soon be beaten and grieving the loss of his beloved Queen, Antony asks friend Eros to kill him, only to fall on his sword instead when Eros takes his own life rather than kill his friend. Though dying, his servants bring him before Cleopatra where he professes his deep love for her before passing away. Caesar too grieves the loss of his once close friend, promising the Queen mercy but planning on her parading her as a war prize, humiliating her. Fearing such a life under Caesar's control, and still grieving the death of her lover, she kills herself by letting poisonous asps (snakes) bite her, her attendants quickly follow suit, Chairman (1st Attendant) committing suicide by asp whilst second attendant Iras, dies from the shock and grief of losing her Queen. In an act of kindness, Caesar allows the two lovers to be buried together. Caesar now alone, rules the entire Roman empire...


Dramatis Personæ

Act I
Scene I, Scene II, Scene III, Scene IV, Scene V

Act II
Scene I,
Scene II, Scene III, Scene IV, Scene V, Scene VI, Scene VII

Scene I, Scene II, Scene III, Scene IV, Scene V, Scene VI, Scene VII, Scene VIII, Scene IX, Scene X, Scene XI

Act IV
Scene I, Scene II, Scene III, Scene IV, Scene V, Scene VI, Scene VII, Scene VIII, Scene IX, Scene X, Scene XI, Scene XII, Scene XIII

Act V
Scene I, Scene II

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