Antony and Cleopatra

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 2 Scene 5

page Act 2 Scene 5 Page 5

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Exit
The MESSENGER exits.

CHARMIAN

Good madam, keep yourself within yourself.
The man is innocent.

CHARMIAN

Good madam, restrain yourself. The man hasn’t done anything wrong.

CLEOPATRA

Some innocents ’scape not the thunderbolt.
80Melt Egypt into Nile, and kindly creatures
Turn all to serpents. Call the slave again.
Though I am mad, I will not bite him. Call!

CLEOPATRA

Even innocents cannot always escape disaster. May Egypt drown in the Nile and all good creatures turn into poisonous snakes. Call that servant back. Even though I’m mad, I won’t bite him. Call him!

CHARMIAN

He is afeard to come.

CHARMIAN

He’s afraid to come in.

CLEOPATRA

                                          I will not hurt him.
These hands do lack nobility that they strike
85A meaner than myself, since I myself
Have given myself the cause.

CLEOPATRA

I won’t hurt him. My hands are tainted if they hit an inferior, especially since I myself am the cause of my own distress.
Enter the MESSENGER again
The MESSENGER returns.
                                                         Come hither, sir.
Though it be honest, it is never good
To bring bad news. Give to a gracious message
An host of tongues, but let ill tidings tell
90Themselves when they be felt.
Come here, sir. It may be honest, but it’s never wise to bring bad news. You can give good news in many ways, but let bad news interpret itself as you tell it.

MESSENGER

I have done my duty.

MESSENGER

I’ve only done my duty.

CLEOPATRA

Is he married?
I cannot hate thee worser than I do
If thou again say “yes.”

CLEOPATRA

Is he married? I can’t hate you any more than I already do if you repeat that he is.

MESSENGER

                                             He’s married, madam.

MESSENGER

He’s married, madam.