Explanatory Notes for Act 1, Scene 3
From Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra. Ed. M. Eaton. Boston: Educational Publishing Company.
(Line numbers have been altered.)
1. Since. The use of since with the imperfect tense is
not uncommon in Shakespeare.
4. Did. That is, you must appear as if I did not send
7. Did love. Implying that she does not.
10. Do. Supply "which."
12. The way. That is the way.
13. I wish. I wish you would forbear; I pray you,
14. Often. Are frequently obliged to fear.
16. Sullen. That is, I mean to pretend to be sick and
17. Breathing. To put my purpose in words.
19. Sides. As illustrative of her meaning, Stevens quotes
"There is no woman's sides
Can hide the beating of so strong a passion."
24. Eye. By your very appearance.
25. Married. A scornful reference to Fulvia.
32. Treasons. The treachery you intended against me.
37. Mouth-made. Empty, false.
40. Color. Excuse, pretext.
41. Sued. Sued that you might stay.
43. Eternity. This is a mocking echo of what Antony
has previously said.
44. Bent. The arch of our eyebrow.
44. None. None of our parts.
45. Race. Had a heavenly origin.
54. In use. In trust, a legal term.
55. Civil swords. Is torn by civil wars.
56. Port. Probably Ostia, which was the harbor of
58. Breed. Agrees with "powers," rather than with its
58. Scrupulous. Factions that keep narrow watch on
each other. By a confusion of ideas "breed" agrees with
the nearest noun.
59. Condemn'd. It is necessary to accent this word on
the first syllable.
63. Purge. Would be cured, changed.
64. Particular. More private reasons.
65. Safe. Make safe; render you secure regarding me.
68. Childishness. That is, from being so childish as to
believe that Fulvia is really dead.
71. Garboils. Commotions, turmoils. The word is
adopted from the French.
71. Best. This remark has been variously interpreted.
Some take it to mean that the last part of the letter, telling
the good news of Fulvia 's death, is the best part; some that
nothing in Fulvia' s life so became her as her death, Cleopatra's reply seems to favor the first interpretation.
74. Sacred vials. The Romans sometimes placed bottles
of tears, or lachrymatory vials, in the urns of their friends.
78. Bear. My intentions.
78. Cease. Which shall be carried out or not.
79. Fire. That is, by the sun that brings verdure out of
the Nile mud.
82. Affect'st. As it may please thee.
83. Lace. Stay lace, lest I faint.
85. So. If.
87. Evidence. Testimony.
87. Trial. Test.
92. Egypt. That is, Egypt's queen.
92. Good now. A common vocative, my good lord.
96. Meetly. Very well.
98. Target. Shield.
100. Herculanean. According to Plutarch, Antony claimed
descent from Anton, a son of Hercuies.
101. Chafe. How well he maintains his pretended anger.
107. Oblivion. My forgetfulness. That is, my memory
plays me as false as does Antony himself, and I have forgotten
all I would say.
110. Idleness. But that your royalty holds idleness in
subjection to your purposes, I should think you were the
very spirit of idleness yourself.
113. Heart. It is hard work to carry on such trifling
when it covers such a sorry heart.
115. Becomings. Graces and charms.
116. Eye. Appear becoming in your eyes.
119. Laurel. Laurel crowned victory. Laurel has always been the symbol of the victor.
123. Abide. That is, we both remain with and yet fly
from each other, since you, though remaining here, yet go
with me, and I, though going hence, still in spirit am here
How to cite the explanatory notes:
Shakespeare, William. Antony and Cleopatra. Ed. M. Eaton. Boston: Educational Publishing Company, 1908. Shakespeare Online. 20 Feb. 2010. (date when you accessed the information) < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/antony_1_3.html >.