The Masks of Anthony and Cleopatra

By Marvin Rosenberg; Mary Rosenberg | Go to book overview

Act III, Scene xii

Enter Caesar, Agrippa, and Dolabella, with others [including Thidias,
though he is not listed and does not speak until the end of the scene].

The high emotional tone of the last exit gives way sharply to this crisp, brief scene, that spreads again the sense of the wide world, and messages across it. It is, has been, preceded by blunt trumpets. Caesar and the armed men round him are efficient, not as malleable, as friendly, as Anthony’s. This is Rome: masculine, orderly, measured.

Caesar enters purposefully, mature, intense, in control, but involved subtextually, in conversation with Thidias about Cleopatra; sometimes with a war map, or the message from Anthony in his hand or now handed to him.

Caesar gets things done. Abruptly:

Let him appear that’s come from Anthony!

As the orderly goes off, or one of the lieutenants beckons, Caesar asks Dolabella (whose name is sometimes spoken, for the audience later to recognize him): “Know you him?”

Dolabella:                   Caesar, ’tis his Schoolmaster!

(Shakespeare is again playing with time. Anthony has spoken of the Schoolmaster/Ambassador being expected back at the end of the last scene.)

That’s all!? The Romans laugh. Dolabella continues, scornfully:

An argument that he is plucked, when hither
He sends so poor a pinion of his wing,
Which had superfluous kings for messengers,
Not many moons gone by.

Caesar nods, pleased. More Roman laughter sometimes, as Schoolmaster is seen approaching.

-288-

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The Masks of Anthony and Cleopatra
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 7
  • Preface 9
  • Acknowledgments 17
  • Introduction 21
  • Act One 39
  • Act I, Scene I 41
  • Anthony 70
  • Cleopatra 80
  • Act I, Scene II 86
  • Act I, Scene III 104
  • Octavius 118
  • Act I, Scene IV 123
  • Act I, Scene V 133
  • Act Two 143
  • Act II, Scene I 145
  • Act II, Scene II 151
  • Act 2, Scene III 174
  • Act II, Scene IV 180
  • Act II, Scene V 181
  • Act 2, Scene VI 197
  • Act II, Scene VII 207
  • Act Three 225
  • Act III, Scene I 227
  • Act III, Scene II 231
  • Act III, Scene III 239
  • Act III, Scene IV 246
  • Act III, Scene V 251
  • Act III, Scene VI 254
  • Act III, Scene VII 262
  • Act III, Scenes VIII, IX, and X 272
  • Act III, Scene XI 278
  • Act III, Scene XII 288
  • Act III, Scene XIII 293
  • Act Four 315
  • Act IV, Scene I 317
  • Act IV, Scene II 320
  • Act IV, Scene III 326
  • Act IV, Scene IV 329
  • Act IV, Scene V 335
  • Act IV, Scene VI 337
  • Act IV, Scene VII 341
  • Act IV, Scene VIII 344
  • Act IV, Scene IX 349
  • Act IV, Scenes X, XI, XII, and XIII 352
  • Act IV, Scene XIV 362
  • Act IV, Scene XV 379
  • Act Five 393
  • Act V, Scene I 395
  • Act V, Scene II 403
  • Is Anthony and Cleopatra a Tragedy? 473
  • Epilogue 480
  • A Note on the Historical Cleopatra 69 Bc–30 BC 482
  • Critical and Theatrical Bibliographies 489
  • Critical Bibliography 491
  • Theatrical Bibliography 532
  • Index 597
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