239. Her itifinite variety:--Cleopatra, as appears from the tetradrachms of Antony, was no Venus; and indeed the major- ity of women who have most successfully enslaved the hearts of princes, were less remarkable for personal than mental attrac- tions. The reign of insipid beauty is seldom lasting; but permanent must be the rule of a woman who can diversify the sameness of life by an inexhausted variety of accomplishments.

Scene III.
3. bow my prayers: --The same construction is found in Coriolanus, I. i. 217: "Shouting their emulation." And in King Lear, II. ii. 82: "Smile you my speeches?

Scene V.
3. billiards: --Many critics have called this an anachronism, as billiards, they say, were not known to the ancients. But Hudson asks, "How do they know this? Late researches," he declares, "have shown that many things were in use in old Egypt which, afterwards lost, have been reinvented in modern times. But Shakespeare did not know this? Doubtless not; but then he knew that by using a term familiar to his audience he would lead their thoughts to what has always followed in the train of luxury and refinement. Suppose he had been so learned, and withal such a slave to his learning, as to use a term signifying some game which the English people never had heard of. Which were the greater anachronism?"
16-18. When your diver, etc.: --This circumtance is from Plutarct: Antony had fished unsuccessfully in Cleopatra's presence, and she laughed at him. The next time, therefore, he directed the boatman to dive under water, and attach a fish to his hook. The queen perceived the strategem, but affecting not to notice it, congratulated him on his success. Another time, however, she determined to laugh at him once more, and gave orders to her own people to get the start of his divers, and put some dried salt fish on his hook.
23. Philippan: --The battle of Philippi being the greatest action of Antony's life, it was an adroit piece of flattery to name his sword from it. The swords of the heroes of romance have generally pompous names.

-178-

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Antony and Cleopatra
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface 1
  • Critical Comments 5
  • Dramatis Personae 20
  • Act First 21
  • Scene I 21
  • Scene II 23
  • Scene III 30
  • Scene IV 35
  • Scene V 38
  • Act Second 41
  • Scene I 41
  • Scene II 43
  • Scene III 53
  • Scene IV 54
  • Scene V 55
  • Scene VI 60
  • Scene VII 66
  • Act Third 71
  • Scene I 71
  • Scene II 73
  • Scene III 76
  • Scene IV 78
  • Scene V 80
  • Scene VI 81
  • Scene VII 84
  • Scene VIII 88
  • Scene IX 88
  • Scene X 89
  • Scene XI 90
  • Scene XII 93
  • Scene XIII 95
  • Act Fourth 103
  • Scene I 103
  • Scene II 104
  • Scene III 106
  • Scene IV 107
  • Scene V 109
  • Scene VI 110
  • Scene VII 112
  • Scene VIII 113
  • Scene IX 114
  • Scene X 116
  • Scene XI 116
  • Scene XII 117
  • Scene XIII 119
  • Scene XIV 119
  • Scene XV 125
  • Act Fifth 129
  • Scene I 129
  • Scene II 132
  • Glossary 149
  • Critical Notes 166
  • Explanatory Notes 172
  • Act First 172
  • Scene I 172
  • Scene II 173
  • Scene III 174
  • Scene IV 174
  • Scene V 175
  • Act Second 176
  • Scene I 176
  • Scene II 176
  • Scene III 178
  • Scene V 178
  • Questions On Antony and Cleopatra 192
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