Antony and Cleopatra Second lecture
The political world • Pompey’s reasons for opposing Octavius and Antony are high minded (II.6). • He, like the conspirators of Julius Caesar, would “Have one man but a man.” • I.e., the political values of the Roman republic. • Which Gnaeus Pompey supported. • But the triumvirate have offered him Sicily and Sardinia – and he must rid the sea of pirates and send wheat to Rome. • He’d take the offer, except he’s still annoyed with Antony – he never said “thank you”! • Antony’s reply. • Oh, alright then! • Roman republican principles? • In reply to Octavius, Pompey says Fortune will never alter his heart. • Yeah, right! • Menas, the pirate, later remarks (l. 83) that Pompey’s father would never have take this bargain. • And Menas and Enobarbus admit to being great thieves by sea and by land.
And its fragility • Scene (II.7) on Pompey’s barge: a big moment, the whole triumvirate plus advisers. • Clip from RSC production with Richard Johnson, Janet Suzman, Patrick Stuart. • Lepidus dead drunk. • Menas approaches Pompey with his plan. • “Wilt thou be lord of all the world?” • Simple job for a pirate. • But Pompey’s “honor” won’t allow it. • Menas should just have done it, then told Pompey. • And Menas, the pragmatist? is simply disgusted. • Lepidus, a third of the world, is carried off. • And what’s the effect of their being placed hand in hand to hear the song?
The triumvirate, R.I.P • Was it simply doomed? • III.4 Antony’s reports about Octavius. • III.5 Octavius tosses Lepidus aside. • III.6 Octavius hears of Antony’s enthronement of himself and Cleo in Alexandria. • And Octavia comes to Rome without pomp or fanfare.
Antony’s generalship • Allows Cleopatra to join in the battle. • See Enobarbus’ opinion of that III.7. • Will fight by sea. Why? “For that he dares us to’t.” III.7. • Enobarbus’ opinion, 34-40. • Octavius’ generalship, III.8 • The result: III.10. • Why did she flee? • Why did he follow? • “Fall not a tear, I say: one of them rates/ All that is won and lost.” • And he sends his schoolmaster, who hasn’t a clue how to negotiate.
What’s Cleo’s game? • Why does she admit Thidias? • And why does she seem to admit Octavius’ offers? • And let him kiss her hand? • Antony’s wonderful anger in having Thidias whipped. • And his insults to Cleo: 116. • All because Thidias kissed her hand. • Cleo: “Not know me yet?” • What is to know? Ll. 158-67. • Antony satisfied? • But Enobarbus is not.
Enobarbus • A kind of chorus-like figure in the play? • Able to appreciate the delights of Egypt. • But understands the demands of Rome. • Half in love with Cleo himself? • After Cleo admits Thidias, speaks an aside: “Mine honesty and I begin to square [quarrel]./ The loyalty well held to fools does make/ Our faith mere folly . . .” • “. . . yet he that can endure/ To follow with allegiance a fallen lord/ Does conquer him that did his master conquer/ And earns a place in the story.” • The story? • What finally determines Enobarbus’ decision to leave Antony? • And how does Antony react? IV.6. • And E’s reaction to that: “This blows my heart.” • And imagines that “thought will do’t.” • Can one die of thought? • IV.9: E. addresses himself, and repents, to the moon. • Why the moon? • And dies with Antony’s name on his lips.