Act III - Act III, Scene 6
Rome. A Room in CAESAR'S House.
[Enter CAESAR, AGRIPPA, and MAECENAS.]
Contemning Rome, he has done all this, and more,
In Alexandria. Here's the manner of't:--
I' the market-place, on a tribunal silver'd,
Cleopatra and himself in chairs of gold
Were publicly enthron'd: at the feet sat
Caesarion, whom they call my father's son,
And all the unlawful issue that their lust
Since then hath made between them. Unto her
He gave the 'stablishment of Egypt; made her
Of lower Syria, Cyprus, Lydia,
This in the public eye?
I' the common show-place, where they exercise.
His sons he there proclaim'd the kings of kings:
Great Media, Parthia, and Armenia,
He gave to Alexander; to Ptolemy he assign'd
Syria, Cilicia, and Phoenicia: she
In the habiliments of the goddess Isis
That day appear'd; and oft before gave audience,
As 'tis reported, so.
Let Rome be thus
Who, queasy with his insolence
Already, will their good thoughts call from him.
The people knows it: and have now receiv'd
Who does he accuse?
Caesar: and that, having in Sicily
Sextus Pompeius spoil'd, we had not rated him
His part o' the isle: then does he say he lent me
Some shipping, unrestor'd: lastly, he frets
That Lepidus of the triumvirate
Should be depos'd; and, being, that we detain
All his revenue.
Sir, this should be answer'd.
'Tis done already, and messenger gone.
I have told him Lepidus was grown too cruel;
That he his high authority abus'd,
And did deserve his change: for what I have conquer'd
I grant him part; but then, in his Armenia
And other of his conquer'd kingdoms, I
Demand the like.
He'll never yield to that.
Nor must not then be yielded to in this.
[Enter OCTAVIA, with her train.]
Hail, Caesar, and my lord! hail, most dear Caesar!
That ever I should call thee castaway!
You have not call'd me so, nor have you cause.
Why have you stol'n upon us thus? You come not
Like Caesar's sister: the wife of Antony
Should have an army for an usher, and
The neighs of horse to tell of her approach
Long ere she did appear; the trees by the way
Should have borne men; and expectation fainted,
Longing for what it had not; nay, the dust
Should have ascended to the roof of heaven,
Rais'd by your populous troops: but you are come
A market-maid to Rome; and have prevented
The ostentation of our love, which left unshown
Is often left unlov'd; we should have met you
By sea and land; supplying every stage
With an augmented greeting.
Good my lord,
To come thus was I not constrain'd, but did it
On my free will. My lord, Mark Antony,
Hearing that you prepar'd for war, acquainted
My grieved ear withal: whereon I begg'd
His pardon for return.
Which soon he granted,
Being an obstruct 'tween his lust and him.
Do not say so, my lord.
I have eyes upon him,
And his affairs come to me on the wind.
Where is he now?
My lord, in Athens.
No, my most wronged sister; Cleopatra
Hath nodded him to her. He hath given his empire
Up to a whore; who now are levying
The kings o' theearth for war: he hath assembled
Bocchus, the king of Libya; Archelaus
Of Cappadocia; Philadelphos, king
Of Paphlagonia; the Thracian king, Adallas;
King Manchus of Arabia; King of Pont;
Herod of Jewry; Mithridates, king
Of Comagene; Polemon and Amyntas,
The kings of Mede and Lycaonia, with
More larger list of sceptres.
Ay me, most wretched,
That have my heart parted betwixt two friends,
That do afflict each other!
Your letters did withhold our breaking forth,
Till we perceiv'd both how you were wrong led
And we in negligent danger. Cheer your heart:
Be you not troubled with the time, which drives
O'er your content these strong necessities;
But let determin'd things to destiny
Hold unbewail'd their way. Welcome to Rome;
Nothing more dear to me. You are abus'd
Beyond the mark of thought: and the high gods,
To do you justice, make their ministers
Of us and those that love you. Best of comfort;
And ever welcome to us.
Welcome, dear madam.
Each heart in Rome does love and pity you:
Only theadulterous Antony, most large
In his abominations, turns you off,
And gives his potent regiment to a trull
That noises it against us.
Is it so, sir?
Most certain. Sister, welcome: pray you
Be ever known to patience: my dear'st sister!
— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
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.