Antony and Cleopatra

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 4 Scene 12

page Act 4 Scene 12 Page 3

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Exit CLEOPATRA
CLEOPATRA exits.
                                                 ’Tis well th’art gone,
40If it be well to live, but better ’twere
Thou fell’st into my fury, for one death
Might have prevented many.—Eros, ho!—
The shirt of Nessus is upon me. Teach me,
Alcides, thou mine ancestor, thy rage.
45Let me lodge Lichas on the horns o’ th’ moon,
And with those hands that grasped the heaviest club
Subdue my worthiest self. The witch shall die.
To the young Roman boy she hath sold me, and I fall
Under this plot. She dies for ’t.—Eros, ho!
If you wish to live, you had better get out of here. But I think it would have been better if you’d let me kill you. One death would have prevented the deaths of many others.—Eros, ho!—

I’m wearing the shirt of Nessus.

Hercules was killed by a shirt poisoned with Nessus’ blood. Wild with pain, he threw his servant Lichas all the way to the sea.

I’m wearing the shirt of Nessus.
Hercules, my ancestor, teach me how to feel your rage. I’ll toss Lichas to the moon and use my mighty hands to kill my better self. The witch shall die.
She sold me to that young Roman boy and now I’m ruined. She’ll die for it.—Eros, ho!
Exit
He exits.