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Quotes in Antony and Cleopatra

Quotes Examples in Antony and Cleopatra:

Act I - Act I, Scene 1

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"Let Rome in Tiber melt..."   (Act I - Act I, Scene 1)

Antony stays Cleopatra's rage with this famous line. He denounces Rome, pledging that Rome could melt into the Tiber river for all he cares, as long as he has Cleopatra. He then goes on to denounce all conventional ways of defining one's power and success — empire, nobility — and claims that real nobility is passionate love. The idea of "melting" is a motif within this play that symbolizes both lovers losing control over their realms. Their power and stability melts away from them as they engage in this love affair.

"My salad days, When I was green in judgment:--cold in blood..."   (Act I - Act I, Scene 5)

"Salad days" has come to mean a number of different things, including one's heyday or highest point. However, in this original context, "salad days" refer to a time when one was young, "green" or inexperienced, and passionless. Cleopatra uses this metaphor to refer to her youthful affair with Julius Caesar. Her love and passion for Caesar were not real love as her love for Antony is. Rather, her lack of discretion and passion made him seem greater than he was. Cleopatra contradicts the Chairman's claim that her praises for Antony are similar to her past praise of Caesar by asserting that she has changed and matured.

"For her own person, It beggar'd all description: she did lie In her pavilion,--cloth-of-gold of tissue,-- O'er-picturing that Venus where we see The fancy out-work nature..."   (Act II - Act II, Scene 2)

Enobarbus is able to describe Cleopatra's extravagant barge, but the woman herself defies description. To "beggar" meant to exhaust or impoverish. In other words, Cleopatra's beauty "impoverishes" the English language because there are no words to describe her. The only way to describe her is to compare her to Venus, the goddess of love who is famed for her beauty. With this introduction, Cleopatra is set up to be the most objectively desirable and beautiful woman on earth.

"Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale Her infinite variety: other women cloy The appetites they feed; but she makes hungry Where most she satisfies..."   (Act II - Act II, Scene 2)

Here, Enobarbus describes the addictive quality of Cleopatra's love. He claims that while men grow tired of all other women in the world, loving Cleopatra only makes men desire her more. Notice that this description of Cleopatra's enticing nature comes from a third party rather than Antony. This suggests that Cleopatra is known far and wide for her irresistibly seductive nature. His paean not only foreshadows Antony's eventual return to his lover, but begins to create a mythic image of Cleopatra as the most sensual, and erotically powerful woman in all the world.

"He hath given his empire Up to a whore;..."   (Act III - Act III, Scene 6)

In this speech, Octavius tells his sister that her husband, Anthony, has abandoned her and Rome for Cleopatra and Egypt. Octavius uses this metaphor to turn Cleopatra into a symbol for the East; her voluptuous and passionate body displaces Antony's Roman empire and becomes his Egyptian empire. Octavius creates a vision of Egypt as the enticing female love object.

"I am dying, Egypt, dying; only I here importune death awhile, until Of many thousand kisses the poor last I lay upon thy lips...."   (Act IV - Act IV, Scene 15)

Antony tells Cleopatra that he is dying and calls her Egypt. In this way, he conflates his lover with the land he claimed and fought for; the land which he lost to Rome. In Antony's final lines, he pledges himself to Cleopatra forever, asking death to wait so that he can kiss her a thousand more times. Antony does not ask for forgiveness for what he has done but only more of his love.

"Give me my robe, put on my crown; I have Immortal longings in me..."   (Act V - Act V, Scene 2)

By "immortal longings," Cleopatra means that she has desires to die and thus become "immortal." Because "immortal" means undying, everlasting, and deathless, Cleopatra's desire is paradoxical. Using this oxymoron, Cleopatra emphasizes the fame of her love: in dying with her love, Cleopatra makes their story immortal. She claims her crown and robe, symbols of her power, in her death in order to assert not only her immortal love but her immortal fame.

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