Mapping Antony and Cleopatra EN301: Shakespeare and Selected Dramatists of his Time
1.4, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 3.2 1.4, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 3.2, 3.6 1.4, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4 1.4 3.4, 3.5 3.1 2.6, 2.7 3.7, 3.8, 3.9, 3.10 2.1 3.12, 4.1, 4.6, 4.10, 5.1 3.12, 4.1, 4.6 3.12, 4.1, 4.6, 4.10 3.12, 4.1 3.12 4.7, 4.8, 4.9, 4.11, 4.12, 4.13 4.7, 4.8, 4.9 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.5, 2.5, 3.3, 3.11, 3.13, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.14, 4.15, 4.16 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.5, 2.5, 3.3, 3.11, 3.13 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.5, 2.5, 3.3, 3.11, 3.13, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.5, 2.5, 3.3, 3.11 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.5, 2.5, 3.3 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.5, 2.5, 3.3, 3.11, 3.13, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.14, 4.15, 4.16, 5.2 4.5 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.5, 2.5 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.5 Source: McCarter Theater, Princeton University, http://www.mccarter.org
Source: Pamela Bradley, The Ancient World Transformed (C. U. P., 2014), p. 366
Geography • The word “world” is used 45 times in this play. • Act 1 sets up a clear binary between Egypt and Rome: MESSENGER. News, my good lord, from Rome. ANTONY. Grates me: the sum. (1.1.18-19) ANTONY. Let Rome in Tiber melt, and the wide archOf the ranged empire fall. Here is my space. (1.1.35-6)
Geography • Clearly Antony can bring “Rome” to Egypt, and vice versa: CLEOPATRA. He was disposed to mirth, but on the suddenA Roman thought hath struck him. (1.2.72-3) ANTONY. Let us go. Come. Our separation so abides and fliesThat thou residing here goest yet with me,And I hence fleeting, here remain with thee. (1.3.102-5)
Geography • “Egypt” represents an irresistible temptation, the sinful nature of which he is fully aware: ANTONY. I will to Egypt;And though I make this marriage for my peace,I’ th’ East my pleasure lies. (2.3.36-8) ANTONY. Have I my pillow left unpressed in Rome,Forborne the getting of a lawful race,And by a gem of women, to be abusedBy one that looks on feeders? (3.13.106-9)
Orientalism • Antony sends Alexas to Cleopatra with an “orient pearl”: ALEXAS.‘Good friend,’ quoth he,‘Say the firm Roman to great Egypt sendsThis treasure of an oyster; at whose foot,To mend the petty present, I will pieceHer opulent throne with kingdoms. All the East,Say thou, shall call her mistress.’ (1.5.41-6)
Orientalism • Coined by the postcolonial critic Edward Said, the term “Orientalism” describes “a Western style for dominating, reconstructing and having authority over the Orient” (1979: 3): • Said suggests that the “Orient” features in the Western imagination “as a sort of surrogate and even underground self” (1979: 3) – cruelty, sensuality, decadence, laziness, immorality are projected onto it as the anti-qualities of those that Western audiences are encouraged to associate with their own cultures. • “…the Oriental is irrational, depraved (fallen), childlike, ‘different’; thus the European is rational, virtuous, mature, ‘normal’. … the essence of Orientalism is the ineradicable distinction between Western superiority and Oriental inferiority” (1979: 40, 42).
The Other • Such assumptions of superiority are of course fragile: resting as they do on an imagined inferiority of the Other, they constantly run the risk of being discredited. • When we construct an Other in this way, we are in fact marking out not only difference, but also similarity: the projected “other” is what the “self” could be.
Gender: masculinity • Cleopatra describes Antony as “My man of men” (1.5.71) ANTONY. I’ll leave theeNow like a man of steel. (4.4.32-3) CLEOPATRA. I dreamt there was an Emperor Antony.O, such another sleep, that I might seeBut such another man! (5.2.75-7) • Note the various jokes about Mardian the eunuch
Gender: femininity • The play gives voice to a number of early modern gender stereotypes about women: CAESAR. [to Thidias] From Antony win Cleopatra. Promise,And in our name, what she requires. Add moreAs thine invention offers. Women are notIn their best fortunes strong, but want will perjureThe ne’er-touched vestal. (3.12.27-31) ENOBARBUS. What mean you, sir,To give them this discomfort? Look, they weep,And I, an ass, am onion-eyed. For shame,Transform us not to women. (4.2.33-6) CLEOPATRA. My resolution’s placed, and I have nothingOf woman in me. Now from head to footI am marble-constant. Now the fleeting moonNo planet is of mine. (5.2.234-7)
Gender • But Antony and Cleopatra trouble gender norms: CAESAR. From AlexandriaThis is the news: he fishes, drinks, and wastesThe lamps of night in revel; is not more manlikeThan Cleopatra, nor the queen of PtolemyMore womanly than he… (1.4.3-7) CLEOPATRA. A charge we bear i’ th’ war,And as the president of my kingdom willAppear there for a man. Speak not against it.I will not stay behind. (3.7.16-19)
Gender CANIDIUS. …So our leader’s led,And we are women’s men. (3.7.69-70) SCARUS. ...The noble ruin of her magic, Antony,Claps on his sea-wing and, like a doting mallard,Leaving the fight in height, flies after her.I never saw an action of such shame.Experience, manhood, honour, ne’er beforeDid violate so itself. (3.10.18-23)
Lines per scene – Act One [N.B. there are no act or scene divisions in the Folio, so these divisions are editorial and may not be consistent from edition to edition.]
Time • The historical events depicted took place over ten years; Shakespeare makes them seem part of a single, breathless sweep: CANIDIUS. With news the time’s with labour and throes forthEach minute, some. (3.7.81-2) • But as David Kaula notes, Shakespeare “creates the impression that time moves at different velocities in different places”: • “[Act 2, scene 5] is followed by four scenes of complex activity which take place in various parts of the Empire: Misenum, Pompey’s galley, Syria, and Rome. Act 3, scene 3 returns us to Cleopatra, showing her listening to the messenger’s description of Octavia after she had received the original report five scenes earlier. Thus if time in the world of political affairs moves with relentless speed, in Alexandria, while Cleopatra has nothing to do but wait for Antony, it is almost static.” (1964: 212)
Time • 2.5 ends with Cleopatra commanding the offstage Messenger to “Report the feature of Octavia”, adding “Bring me word quickly” (2.5.113, 115); the Messenger re-enters in 3.3 with his report. • Cleopatra’s Alexandria is repeatedly characterised as a space for “play” (compare 1 Henry IV?). • Elsewhere in the play, major political events are dealt with in the margins – the deposition of Lepidus and the death of Pompey, for example, are reported almost as throwaway comments.
Source for data: Internet Shakespeare Editions, http://internetshakespeare.uvic.ca
Source: Martin Grandjean, http://www.martingrandjean.ch/network-visualization-shakespeare/
Antony and Cleopatra and Enobarbus? Antony Cleopatra ? Enobarbus
Antony and Cleopatra and Enobarbus? ANTONY. She is cunning past man’s thought. ENOBARBUS. Alack, sir, no. Her passions are made of nothing but the finest part of pure love. We cannot call her winds and waters sighs and tears; they are greater storms and tempests than almanacs can report. This cannot be cunning in her; if it be, she makes a shower of rain as well as Jove. ANTONY. Would I had never seen her. ENOBARBUS. O, sir, you had then left unseen a wonderful piece of work. which not to have been blest withal would have discredited your travel. (1.2.132-41)
Antony and Cleopatra and Enobarbus? ENOBARBUS. I saw her onceHop forty paces through the public street,And having lost her breath, she spoke and panted,That she did make defect perfection,And breathless, pour breath forth. MAECENAS. Now Antony Must leave her utterly. ENOBARBUS. Never. He will not.Age cannot wither her, nor custom staleHer infinite variety. Other women cloyThe appetites they feed, but she makes hungryWhere most she satisfies. For vilest thingsBecome themselves in her, that the holy priestsBless her when she is riggish. (2.2.234-45)
Antony and Cleopatra and Enobarbus? • 3.7 could be read as a proxy battle between Cleopatra and Enobarbus for Antony’s affections: • when Antony says they will fight by sea, Cleopatra replies, “By sea, what else?” (3.7.28); • when Enobarbus tries to persuade him to fight by land, he refuses, insisting “I’ll fight at sea” (3.7.48). • Is this Antony’s hamartia, his catastrophic error?
Cleopatra as temptress? • Much of this analysis appears to construct Cleopatra as a temptress in Antony’s tragedy. AGRIPPA. [on Antony] A rarer spirit neverDid steer humanity; but you gods will give usSome faults to make us men. (5.1.31-3) PHILO. Nay, but this dotage of our General’sO’erflows the measure. Those his goodly eyes,That o’er the files and musters of the warHave glowed like plated Mars, now bend, now turnThe office and devotion of their viewUpon a tawny front. His captain’s heart,Which in the scuffles of great fights hath burstThe buckles on his breast, reneges all temper,And is become the bellows and the fanTo cool a gipsy’s lust. (1.1.1-10)
Cleopatra as temptress? • Under this reading of the play, Antony is torn between his desire for Cleopatra and his Roman duty: ANTONY. Now, for the love of Love and her soft hoursLet’s not confound the time with conference harsh.There’s not a minute of our lives should stretchWithout some pleasure now. What sport tonight? (1.1.46-9) ANTONY. These strong Egyptian fetters I must break,Or lose myself in dotage. (1.2.105-6) • Enobarbus tells us that Octavia, constructed as Cleopatra’s opposite, is “of a holy, cold, and still conversation” (2.6.120).
Cleopatra as temptress? • Is this, as in 1 Henry IV, a dramaturgy of the Medieval Vice? Are we, like Antony, seduced by Cleopatra’s play-world? • There are problems with this reading. Firstly, there are strong hints that Antony’s fate is predestined (the Soothsayer, the music of Hercules leaving him), not necessarily the result of a hamartia. • In any case, if this is Antony’s tragedy, how does that explain the existence of the whole fifth act? • An implication of the Cleopatra-as-Vice reading may be that Caesar represents “Virtue”. Is he? Is his conduct presented as honourable, or his victory as an earned one? (Shakespeare’s audience might have known he would go on to order the murder of Cleopatra’s son Caesarion.)
Soliloquies and asides (Usual disclaimers apply!)
Direct address • Enobarbus has the largest amount of direct address to the audience in the play, at 62 lines (66 if you count 3.7.6-9, which the Norton 2 editors do, but I, and the Norton 3 editors, do not). Enobarbus’s soliloquies are concentrated around 3 scenes: 3.13, 4.6 and 4.10. • Antony is a close second, with 61 lines of direct address. 43 of these are in 4.13 and 4.15. • Cleopatra does not have any unambiguous direct address; the Norton editors mark 4 of her lines as asides, but I am not convinced even these need to be spoken to the audience. • Other characters have 16 lines between them.
Direct address: Enobarbus • Enobarbus’s first aside as marked in Norton 2 is, I think, just as easily played as a riddle spoken direct to Cleopatra: ENOBARBUS. Well, I could replyIf we should serve with horse and mares together,The horse were merely lost; the mares would bearA soldier and his horse. (3.7.6-9) • Cleopatra’s reply – “What is’t you say?” – suggests to me that this is not an aside but an oblique reply that Enobarbus explains with his next speech.
Direct address: Enobarbus • After this, his direct address takes a clearer trajectory. • Over 3.13, we see him move through the following positions: • Questioning Antony’s judgment (“Yes, like enough, high-battled Caesar will / Unstatehis happiness and be staged to th’ show, / Against a sworder!”; 3.13.28-36); • Thinking about deserting (“Mine honesty and I begin to square. The loyalty well held to fools does make / Our faith mere folly”; 3.13.40-5); • Observing that even Cleopatra seems to be betraying Antony (“Sir, sir, thou art so leaky, / That we must leave thee to thy sinking, for / Thy dearest quit thee”; 3.13.62-5); • Resolving to “seek / Some way to leave him” (3.13.197-203).
Direct address: Enobarbus • We start to see the tragic results of Enobarbus’s desertion in 4.6. He notes that other deserters have been hanged or are mistrusted, and he admits “I have done ill” (4.6.11-19). • When Antony returns his treasure to him, he is filled with shame and self-loathing: I am alone the villain of the earth,And feel I am so most. O Antony,Thou mine of bounty, how wouldst thou have paidMy better service, when my turpitudeThou dost so crown with gold! This blows my heart. […]I fight against thee? No, I will go seekSome ditch wherein to die. (4.6.30-8) • He dies of a broken heart in 4.10, asking the night and the moon (and the audience?) to bear witness to his repentance, and repeating Antony’s name as he dies.
Direct address: Antony • Antony’s direct address charts an arc in a similar way. • We first hear directly from him as he laments Fulvia’s death, and resolves, “I must from this enchanting queen break off”: Ten thousand harms more than the ills I knowMy idleness doth hatch. (1.2.111-19) • Next, he notes Caesar’s luck (“The very dice obey him “) and confides his desire to continue his affair with Cleopatra despite his marriage to Octavia: I will to Egypt;And though I make this marriage for my peace,I’ th’ East my pleasure lies. (2.3.30-8) • This insight into Antony’s intentions gives us more knowledge than anyone in the play, including Cleopatra.
Direct address: Antony • 4.13 and 4.15 are dominated by Antony’s soliloquies as he contemplates his defeat, and then commits suicide. • He recognises “O sun, thy uprise shall I see no more”, blaming “this false soul of Egypt” (4.13.18-29); • Furious at his perceived betrayal, he resolves “The witch shall die” (4.13.39-49); • Cleopatra sends news of her (faked) death, causing Antony to repent his rage: “I will o’ertake thee, Cleopatra, and / Weep for my pardon.” He imagines them in the afterlife together: “Where souls do couch on flowers we’ll hand in hand, / And with our sprightly port make the ghosts gaze” (4.15.44-54); • His last soliloquy is largely directed at his dead follower Eros, “Thrice-nobler than myself”, though it also includes an erotic anticipation of a reunion with Cleopatra in death (“I will be / A bridegroom in my death, and run into’t / As to a lover’s bed”, 4.15.95-103).
Direct address: Cleopatra CLEOPATRA. Excellent falsehood!Why did he marry Fulvia and not love her?I’ll seem the fool I am not. (1.1.42-4) • This line does not have to be an aside; speaking it aloud so that Antony can hear it makes her more playfully open about her multiple identities, while playing it as an aside makes her more duplicitous. CLEOPATRA.I must stay his time. (3.13.158) • While this line about waiting for Antony to get over his rage is probably an aside, it could be delivered to Charmian or Iras rather than the audience.
Direct address: Cleopatra • Aside from these ambiguous examples, we get no direct address from the woman who dominates this play. Why? • Why does she never appear alone onstage, and almost never without Charmian and Iras? • Why does Cleopatra do what she does? Retreat from the battle? Appear to agree with Caesar’s messenger that she allowed herself to be seduced by Antony out of fear rather than love (3.13)? Appear to surrender to Caesar (3.13)? • Antony questions Cleopatra’s identity when he discovers her favouring Caesar’s messenger: “what’s her name / Since she was Cleopatra?” (3.13.98-9).
Antony’s identity • The play constantly troubles the notion of Antony’s interior identity: CLEOPATRA. I’ll seem the fool I am not. AntonyWill be himself. (1.1.44-5) LEPIDUS. Good Enobarbus, ‘tis a worthy deed,And shall become you well, to entreat your captainTo soft and gentle speech. ENOBARBUS. I shall entreat himTo answer like himself. (2.2.1-4)
Antony’s identity CAESAR. I wrote to youWhen, rioting in Alexandria, youDid pocket up my letters, and with tauntsDid gibe my missive out of audience. ANTONY. Sir, he fell upon me ere admitted, then.Three kings I had newly feasted, and did wantOf what I was i’ th’ morning; but next dayI told him of myself, which was as muchAs to have asked him pardon. (2.2.75-83)
Antony’s identity CANIDIUS. Our fortune on the sea is out of breath,And sinks most lamentably. Had our generalBeen what he knew himself, it had gone well. (3.10.24-6) ANTONY. Authority melts from me of late. When I cried ‘Ho!’,Like boys unto a muss, kings would start forth,And cry ‘Your will?’ – Have you no ears? I amAntony yet. (3.13.90-3)
Identity • Other characters are more keenly aware of the relational nature of identity: VENTIDIUS. O Silius, Silius,I have done enough. A lower place, note well,May make too great an act. For learn this, Silius:Better to leave undone than by our deedAcquire too high a fame when him we serve’s away. […]Who does i’ th’ wars more than his captain canBecomes his captain’s captain; and ambition,The soldier’s virtue, rather makes choice of lossThan gain which darkens him.I could do more to do Antonius good,But ’twouldoffend him, and in his offenceShould my performance perish. (3.1.11-27)
Identity • The central characters are touchy about their reputations: • Antony demands Ceasar’s messenger “mince not the general tongue” and “Name Cleopatra as she is called in Rome” (1.1.94-5); • Cleopatra is keen to damage Octavia’s reputation (3.3); • Antony chafes at Caesar’s having “spoke scantly” of him (3.4.5); • Maecenas and Agrippa are keen to report Antony’s transgressions to Rome in order to sway public opinion (3.6); • Caesar complains that Octavia has not come to Rome “Like Caesar’s sister” (3.6.43); • Enobarbuscomplains that Antony is “Traduced for levity” (3.7.13); • following his retreat at sea, Antony recognises “I have offended reputation” (3.11.49).
Cleopatra’s identity • Perhaps Cleopatra’s interiority is kept from us because she is more self-conscious than Antony about the performed nature of her identity: CLEOPATRA.It is my birthday.I had thought to’ve held it poor, but since my lordIs Antony again, I will be Cleopatra. (3.12.187-9) • Her public identity is, after all, impossible: “Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale / Her infinite variety” (2.2.235-6)…