Antony and Cleopatra

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 5 Scene 2

page Act 5 Scene 2 Page 3

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PROCULEIUS seizes the dagger
She tries to stab herself, but PROCULEIUS seizes the dagger.

PROCULEIUS

                                                                Hold, worthy lady, hold!
Do not yourself such wrong, who are in this
40Relieved but not betrayed.

PROCULEIUS

Stop, brave lady, stop! Don’t do such a shameful thing to yourself. We’ve rescued you from yourself. We have not betrayed you.

CLEOPATRA

                                                      What, of death too,
That rids our dogs of languish?

CLEOPATRA

What, am I being denied death, as well? The thing which even dogs are given, to rid them of their suffering?

PROCULEIUS

                                                             Cleopatra,
Do not abuse my master’s bounty by
Th’ undoing of yourself. Let the world see
His nobleness well acted, which your death
45Will never let come forth.

PROCULEIUS

Don’t insult my master’s generosity by killing yourself. The world will see how noble he is by the way he treats you. Your death would prevent that.

CLEOPATRA

                                                   Where art thou, Death?
Come hither, come! Come, come and take a queen
Worth many babes and beggars!

CLEOPATRA

Where are you, Death? Come here. Come, and you can have a queen. One queen is worth more than a whole number of babies and beggars, your cheapest conquests.

PROCULEIUS

                                                               Oh, temperance, lady!

PROCULEIUS

Oh, control yourself, lady!

CLEOPATRA

Sir, I will eat no meat, I’ll not drink, sir.
If idle talk will once be necessary,
50I’ll not sleep neither. This mortal house I’ll ruin,
Do Caesar what he can. Know, sir, that I
Will not wait pinioned at your master’s court,
Nor once be chastised with the sober eye
Of dull Octavia. Shall they hoist me up
55And show me to the shouting varletry
Of censuring Rome? Rather a ditch in Egypt
Be gentle grave unto me. Rather on Nilus’ mud
Lay me stark naked and let the waterflies
Blow me into abhorring. Rather make
60My country’s high pyramides my gibbet
And hang me up in chains!

CLEOPATRA

Sir, I won’t eat. I won’t drink. And don’t expect me to talk. I won’t sleep either. I’ll destroy my body. Let Caesar do whatever he wants. You’d better understand that I won’t wait till I’m chained up in your master’s court, and I won’t let myself be scolded even once by dull Octavia. Shall I let them exhibit me to the shouting mobs of Rome?
I’d rather die in a ditch in Egypt, and make it my gentle grave. I’d rather lie in the Nile mud with flies laying their eggs in me, making me disgusting. I’d rather be hung in chains from one of our pyramids!