Antony and Cleopatra
Act3 scene 4
At act 3 scene 1 line 36 we learn that Antony intends to go to Athens and at act3 scene 6 line 65 Octavia believes he is still there. According to Plutarch Antony was in Tarentum when Octavia spoke the words given to her in line 12-20 but Shakespeare in this scene departs from Plutarch who reports that she sent them not to Antony but to Caesar, the dramatist presumably wanted to avoid giving Octavia to similar scenes with her brother and decided to give her one with Antony and one with Caesar act 3 scene 6.
As a result this present scene prepares the audience for her meeting with her brother in act 3 scene 6, it shows the rift between Antony and Caesar starting to develop rapidly, much more rapidly than in historical fact. Enobarbuses prediction at the end of act 2 scene 6 is now proving correct.
This is a preview of the whole essay
Act 3 scene 5
Several historical events are compressed into the scene including Caesars dismissal of Lepidus from the triumvirate, and the murder of Pompey lines 18-19.
The roman world is now divided between Caesar and Antony who are coming closer to outright conflict 13-15, 19-20.
Act 3 scene 6
In this scene Shakespeare again closely follows Plutarch, who describes how Antonys arrogance and contempt for the Roman people gradually aroused their hostility towards him.
It is designed as a parallel to act 3 scene 4. Whereas in the earlier scene Antony makes accusations against Caesar, in this one Caesar accuses Antony. The link between the two scenes is Octavia, who during act 3 scene 5 is given time to travel from Athens to Rome. In the first part of the scene lines 1-39 Caesar reveals his motives for turning against Antony, but these are re doubled in the second part lines 40-65, where the unannounced arrival of his sister provides him with the future cause of animosity. The role call of near eastern monarchs 70-77 creates the impression that the “kings of the earth” are assembling for the decisive battle.
Act 3 scene 7
Location – Actium
Antonys preparation for battle begin ominously with Enobarbus’ prediction that Antony will be distracted by the presence of Cleopatra and Antonys full hardy decision to fight by sea against the advice of Enobarbus 34-48 and the hardened soldier 61-66.
Canidiuss comment 69-70 that his leader is lead and “we are women’s men” prepares us for the flight from battle in act 3 scene 10.
Act 3 scene 8 & 9
In these scenes depicting the battle no fighting takes place on the stage. Since it was a sea battle and involved thousands of men it had to be left to the imagination, therefore sound effects were important and in the early performances the full battery of drums and trumpets was no doubt brought into action. In several 19th century productions an actual sea fought was mounted on stage usually to great acclaim.
Act3 scene 10
Shakespeare turns limited theatrical resources of his theatre to his advantage. He creates the battle of actium by off stage sounds and then satisfies our curiosities by telling us first through Enobarbus the through cearus what has actually occurred. No sooner has Antony fled after Cleopatra than his supporters begin to abandon him. In this short scene we learn that 6 kings have already left him and that canidius, the man in charge of the land army, intends to go over to the enemy 33-35. as the scene ends Enobarbus begins to consider the desertion he will carry out in act 4.