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Antony and Cleopatra

  • Please see the bottom of this page for helpful resources.
  • Please see the bottom of each scene for extensive explanatory notes.

  • Dramatis Personae.
  • Act 1
  • Act 2
  • Act 3
  • Act 4
  • Act 5
    • Scene 1. Alexandria. OCTAVIUS CAESAR's camp.
    • Scene 2. Alexandria. A room in the monument.

Next: Antony and Cleopatra, List of Characters


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 An Analysis of Shakespeare's Indebtedness to North's Plutarch
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 An Introduction to Shakespeare's Cleopatra
 Shakespeare's Interest in the Subject of Antony and Cleopatra
 Sources for Antony and Cleopatra
 Famous Quotations from Antony and Cleopatra

 Antony and Cleopatra: Plot Summary
 Pronouncing the Names in Antony and Cleopatra
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In the Spotlight

Quote in Context

An engraving of the beautiful Cleopatra by J. C. Buttre from 'Heroines from History' (1852)Nay, 'tis most certain, Iras: saucy lictors
Will catch at us, like strumpets; and scald rhymers
Ballad us out o' tune: the quick comedians
Extemporally will stage us, and present
Our Alexandrian revels; Antony
Shall be brought drunken forth, and I shall see
Some squeaking Cleopatra boy my greatness
I' the posture of a whore.
Antony and Cleopatra (5.2), Cleopatra

In Shakespeare's time, and for nearly a century thereafter, women were not allowed on the English stage. Boys whose voices had not changed were dressed in drag and forced to battle the challenging lines spoken by Shakespeare's great heroines. It seems unfathomable to us, and Shakespeare no doubt found it very frustrating at times, as we see in the above passage. But more often than not Shakespeare makes fun of the ridiculous practice, as in A Midsummer Night's Dream, when Flute cries, "let me not play a woman; I have a beard coming." Read on...