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Additional resources for Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare
Act III, Scene vii Summary To the dismay of Enobarbus, Cleopatra regards herself as an active participant in the war against Caesar. Contrary to his own military intelligence and advice of his officers, Antony, with Cleopatra's support, chooses to fight Caesar by sea, although he is better equipped for a land battle, only because Caesar has dared him to it. Caesar already is making great headway in his march towards Egypt. c. Cleopatra and Enobarbus enter in the midst of an argument, which she has already won.
The 'sennet' or fanfare of trumpets that announces the entrance of the Triumvirate, Pompey, and 'other captains' sounds somewhat derisive after the servants' commentary. Antony is the first to speak, and it is ironic that he is in the midst of explaining how the Egyptians measure (an activity associated only with Rome before) 'the flow 0' the Nile / By certain scales i' the pyramid' (19-20). 68-71. A few lines later, Antony has a chance to mock the Roman high regard for measurement when he describes by non-description the crocodile to Lepidus as something that 'is shaped, sir, like itself, and it is as broad as it has breadth' (46-54).
Antony's dilemma, trying to reconcile the conflicting claims of love and honour, makes his situation tragic. To return to Egypt, he would have to surrender the greatness that gives him identity in the world at large; but to stay in Rome, he would have to deny powerful feelings that alone make his private life meaningful. By contrast, Caesar has no conflict; he seems not even to have a private life. Act II, Scene iv Summary Lepidus, Maecenas, and Agrippa discuss the long journey to Mount Misenum, where they will meet with Pompey.