Antony and Cleopatra

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 2 Scene 5

page Act 2 Scene 5 Page 6

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CLEOPATRA

95The gods confound thee! Dost thou hold there still?

CLEOPATRA

May the gods destroy you! Do you maintain the same story?

MESSENGER

Should I lie, madam?

MESSENGER

Do you want me to lie, madam?

CLEOPATRA

                                         Oh, I would thou didst,
So half my Egypt were submerged and made
A cistern for scaled snakes! Go, get thee hence.
Hadst thou Narcissus in thy face, to me
100Thou wouldst appear most ugly. He is married?

CLEOPATRA

Oh, I wish you had lied, even if it meant half my kingdom would be submerged and filled with snakes. Go, get out! Even if you were as handsome as

Narcissus

mythical boy who was so beautiful that he drowned himself while trying to embrace his own reflection

Narcissus
, your face would be ugly to me. Is he really married?

MESSENGER

I crave your highness’ pardon.

MESSENGER

I beg your highness’ pardon.

CLEOPATRA

                                                           He is married?

CLEOPATRA

Is he really married?

MESSENGER

Take no offense that I would not offend you.
To punish me for what you make me do
Seems much unequal. He’s married to Octavia.

MESSENGER

Please don’t be offended that I don’t want to offend you any more. It’s not fair to punish me for something you make me do. He’s married to Octavia.

CLEOPATRA

105Oh, that his fault should make a knave of thee,
That art not what th’ art sure of! Get thee hence.
The merchandise which thou hast brought from Rome
Are all too dear for me. Lie they upon thy hand
And be undone by ’em!

CLEOPATRA

It’s too bad that Antony’s fault should make you look like a jerk. You didn’t have anything to do with it. Go away. The merchandise you bring from Rome is too expensive for me. Let it stay in your inventory until it bankrupts you.
Exit MESSENGER
The MESSENGER exits.

CHARMIAN

                                               Good your highness, patience.

CHARMIAN

Be patient, your highness.

CLEOPATRA

110In praising Antony, I have dispraised Caesar.

CLEOPATRA

When I have praised Antony, I’ve disparaged Caesar.

CHARMIAN

Many times, madam.

CHARMIAN

Many times, madam.

CLEOPATRA

I am paid for ’t now. Lead me from hence.
I faint. O Iras, Charmian! ’Tis no matter.—
Go to the fellow, good Alexas. Bid him
115Report the feature of Octavia: her years,
Her inclination. Let him not leave out
The color of her hair. Bring me word quickly.

CLEOPATRA

I’m being repaid for that now. Help me out of here. I feel faint. Oh, Iras, Charmian! It doesn’t matter. Good Alexas, go ask that fellow to describe Octavia. How old is she? What kind of disposition does she have? Don’t let him leave out the color of her hair. Bring me his answers quickly.