Key moments

Every director will choose their own key moments in Antony and Cleopatra depending on how they are interpreting the text. Here we've listed some important moments in the order in which they appear in the play.

Act 1 Scene 3
Having learned that his wife, Fulvia, is dead and that Sextus Pompeius is plotting against the triumvirate, Antony tells Cleopatra that he must return to Rome.

Act 1 Scene 4
In Rome, Octavius and Lepidus discuss Antony's 'unmanly' behaviour when in Cleopatra's company.

Act 2 Scene 2
To prevent a quarrel and to more closely ally himself with Octavius, Antony agrees to marry Octavia, sister to Octavius. Enobarbus delivers his famous speech in praise of Cleopatra.

Act 2 Scene 6
As peace is celebrated between the members of the triumvirate and Pompey, Enobarbus predicts that Antony will soon abandon Octavia for Cleopatra, and thus create dissension between himself and Octavius.

Act 3 Scene 5
Octavia returns to Rome to negotiate a truce between her husband and her brother, but there learns that Antony and Cleopatra have been reunited in Alexandria and have crowned themselves and their children.

Act 3 Scene 10
Antony, having ignored advice, fights Octavius at sea. The Egyptian navy flees and he and his forces are defeated.

Act 3 Scene 13
Octavius sues for peace with Cleopatra. Antony and Cleopatra quarrel and Octavius's messenger is beaten. Enobarbus decides he must leave Antony's service.

Act 4 Scene 12
Having previously defeated Octavius in a land battle, Antony is again defeated at sea. He blames Cleopatra.

Act 4 Scene 14
In grief over Cleopatra's supposed death, Antony plans a noble Roman suicide but fails, leaving himself severely wounded.

Act 4 Scene 15
The injured Antony is taken to Cleopatra's monument and dies there. Cleopatra mourns for what her deception has brought about and plans her own suicide.

Act 5 Scene 2
Wearing her finest robes and crown, Cleopatra commits suicide. Octavius arranges that she and Antony will be buried together.

Written by Kath Bradley, MPhil (Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham) © RSC
Kath has worked for the RSC in a variety of roles since 2005.

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