Cleopatra hears the news of Antony's marriage to Octavia.
- Plutarch blames Cleopatra for Antony's fall; Shakespeare?
- See 3.7.28ff: Antony decides, responding to a dare
- Compare "Thou canst not fear us, Pompey, with thy sails. / We'll speak with thee at sea" (2.6.24-5)
- The first meeting of Antony and Cleopatra, as retold by Plutarch and Enobarbus: what does Shakespeare change?
- Individual words of a highly evocative nature that are not in North: "burnished," "burned," "dimpled," "adornings," "flower-soft," "hits" (193, 194, 204, 210, 212, 214).
- Phrases and images added: the winds are "lovesick" (196) with the perfumed sails; the water masochistically is "amorous" of the "strokes" of the oars; there is the image of small boys fanning Cleopatra, by their cooling of her cheeks making them glow, and thus seeming to heat them(207).
- The passage is not narrated, it is spoken: (1) by Enobarbus, (2) in the company of fellow Romans, (3) just after the marriage between Antony and Octavia has been arranged.
- The last section of the dialogue between Enobarbus and his fellow Romans does not come from Plutarch: the much-quoted phrase about Cleopatra, "Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale / Her infinite variety" (237-38), is Shakespeare's alone.
- What is the effect of Enobarbus being the one who describes Cleopatra in such glowing terms?
- What is the effect of the speech on our reaction to Octavia, who enters briefly with Antony in the scene which follows?
- Rome (swords) and Egypt (serpents)
- Why would Antony call Cleopatra his "serpent of old Nile (1.5.25)?
- Serpent/snake as multiple symbol of sexuality and renewal rather than sin?
- The Nile with its serpentine path and annual flood