Antony and Cleopatra

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 2

page Act 1 Scene 2 Page 2

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CHARMIAN

I had rather heat my liver with drinking.

CHARMIAN

ALEXAS

Nay, hear him.

ALEXAS

Just listen to him.

CHARMIAN

25 Good now, some excellent fortune! Let me be married to three kings in a forenoon and widow them all. Let me have a child at fifty, to whom Herod of Jewry may do homage. Find me to marry me with Octavius Caesar, and companion me with my mistress.

CHARMIAN

Be kind now and tell me some excellent fortune. Tell me that I’ll marry three kings before noon and be widowed by all of them. Tell me I’ll have a child when I’m fifty who will be honored even by

Herod of Judea

Herod was the Roman governor of Israel at the time of Christ’s birth. In an attempt to kill Jesus, prophesied to become king of the Jews, Herod ordered the slaughter of all the infants in Bethlehem.

Herod of Judea
. Let me marry Octavius Caesar and become my Queen’s equal.

SOOTHSAYER

30You shall outlive the lady whom you serve.

FORTUNETELLER

You will outlive the Queen.

CHARMIAN

Oh, excellent! I love long life better than figs.

CHARMIAN

Oh, excellent! I love long life better than

figs

Figs were thought to resemble female genitalia.

figs
.

SOOTHSAYER

You have seen and proved a fairer former fortune
Than that which is to approach.

FORTUNETELLER

You have already had better fortune than the future will bring.

CHARMIAN

Then belike my children shall have no names. Prithee, how many boys and wenches must I have?

CHARMIAN

Then my children will probably be illegitimate. Tell me, please: how many boys and girls will I have?

SOOTHSAYER

If every of your wishes had a womb,
And fertile every wish, a million.

FORTUNETELLER

If every time you wished for a child you could have had one, you would have a million children.

CHARMIAN

Out, fool! I forgive thee for a witch.

CHARMIAN

Get out of here, you fool! Since you’re a fortuneteller I won’t bring charges of witchcraft against you.

ALEXAS

You think none but your sheets are privy to your wishes.

ALEXAS

You seem to think no one outside of your bedroom knows what you wish.

CHARMIAN

40 (to SOOTHSAYER ) Nay, come, tell Iras hers.

CHARMIAN

(to FORTUNETELLER ) Never mind. Tell Iras’s fortune.

ALEXAS

We’ll know all our fortunes.

ALEXAS

We’ll all want our fortune told.

ENOBARBUS

Mine, and most of our fortunes tonight, shall be—drunk to bed.

ENOBARBUS

My fortune—like that of many of us tonight—is to go drunk to bed.

IRAS

(giving her hand to the SOOTHSAYER ) There’s a palm presages chastity, if nothing else.

IRAS

(giving her hand to the FORTUNETELLER ) There’s a palm that will predict a chaste life, if nothing else.