Act II, Scene 6
Pompey, Caesar, Antony, and Lepidus meet to negotiate terms. They have prisoners to exchange, so they will spea before the fight. Caesar, Antony, and Lepidus have sent terms beforehand. Pompey either needs to agree to those terms or they will go to war. Pompey acknowledges that his father has been largely avenged because Caesar was killed and then Brutus and Cassius. The problem is that the people of Rome seem to have lost their gratitude for his father, Pompey the Great. That is why he has decided to fight.
Antony points out that he has the advantage at sea, but they greatly outnumber him on land. They want to know if he agrees to their terms. They have offered him Sicily and Sardinia, but he has to rid the sea of pirates and send offerings of wheat back to Rome. For this, they will let his forces return home unscathed. He’s prepared to take the offer mostly because Antony showed up, which he did not expect. Even Antony has to laugh at how unlikely it was for him to leave Egypt. They all agree to host a feast, meaning there will be a total of four feasts.
Antony offers to go first, but they decide to draw lots. It won’t matter anyway, the Egyptian food will be the highlight of the feast parade. After all, Julius Caesar got fat in Egypt. Now, talking about Julius Caesar being with Cleopatra is a bit of a touchy subject. Enobarbus quickly diffuses the situation by exchanging compliments with Pompey. The men go off to feast leaving Enobarbus and Menas alone.
Menas and Enobarbus compliment each other on their fighting skills and become fast friends. Menas is surprised to learn that Antony is married to Octavia. Enobarbus predicts that the marriage won’t last, Antony will return to Egypt, causing Caesar and Antony to go to war.
Act II, Scene 7
Servants talk about how everyone is drunk, especially Lepidus.
Antony regales them all with talk of Egypt. Lepidus asks weird questions about Antony’s crocodile and it gets dirty real fast. The jokes appear to go over Lepidus’ head though.
Menas pulls Pompey aside and proposes a plan. He will cut the ship loose and when they are out at sea, they can kill Caesar, Antony, and Lepidus and claim dominion over their lands. Pompey is annoyed that he even asked because now he has to say no. If Menas had just done it, he could have praised him, but since he asked, Pompey has to oppose the plan. Isn’t it just so annoying when the people below you ask permission to murder?
Lepidus gets carried off and Enobarbus comments on the fact that he runs a third of the “world” (the Roman Empire is considered the whole world despite the act that they are obviously aware other places exist…just saying). They sing a drinking song and call it a night. Enobarbus decides to go hang out in Menas’ room.
Act III, Scene 1
Note: I had a very difficult time understanding exactly what was happening in this scene, so forgive me if I mess something up.
Ventidus has taken Parthia. Marcus Crassus has died and needs to be avenged. Ventidus intends to do that. Silius thinks Ventidus should have a big victory parade through all of Antony’s territory to make him proud. Ventidus thinks it would offend Antony. They decide to write to him instead
Act III, Scene 2
Enobarbus speaks with Agrippa in order to inform the audience about what is happening. Pompey has been dispatched. Antony is returning to Athens with Octavia. Lepidus is still hung over. They poke fun about how Lepidus dotes so heavily on both Caesar and Antony.
Octavia is crying as she says her goodbyes to Caesar. She whispers something in his ear and he promises to stay in touch. Enobarbus and Agrippa discuss whether or not Caesar will weep and remember how Antony cried when Julius Caesar was killed. It’s so unmanly to cry.
Act III, Scene 3
Cleopatra brings in the messenger she beat up, so he can tell her all about how awful Octavia is. It makes Cleopatra feel better and she gives him a bunch of gold. Apparently the key to getting on Cleopatra’s good side is to tell her what she wants to hear.
Act III, Scene 4
Antony is mad because Caesar waged new wars against Pompey and publicly insulted Antony. Octavia can hardly believe it and assumes it all must be a misunderstanding. She offers to return to Caesar and clear things up. Antony gives her permission to go and says she should take as many people and things as she needs.
Act III, Scene 5
Enobarbus speaks with Eros (no, unfortunately not Cupid) in another info dump. It turns out Caesar and Lepidus were both waging war against Pompey, until Caesar revealed that Lepidus was playing both side and took him out of the game. Antony is worked up and wants to see Enobarbus.
Act III, Scene 6
Caesar has learned that Antony has returned to Egypt and publicly proclaimed himself and Cleopatra King and Queen. They divided the kingdom between their children including Caesarion, Cleopatra’s son by Julius Caesar. Fun fact: some of the lands they gave away were not even their’s yet. Antony sent word to Caesar that he disapproved of what happened to Pompey and Lepidus. He also demands some of Lepidus’ land, so he’s probably not that upset about Lepidus. Caesar wants to tells him fat chance, but that might not go over well.
Octavia arrives with a small retinue. Caesar is offended that she arrived in such an understated way. She should have been sent to him with a huge train that was met by his officials at every stage. She assures him that this was her choice, not Antony’s. Caesar breaks the news to her that Antony returned to Egypt. She still laments the fact that she is stuck in the middle between Caesar and Antony. Not sure why she feels stuck in the middle, but okay.
Act III, Scene 7
Cleopatra is mad that she can’t join the fight. Enobarbus tries to convince her it would be a bad idea because Antony won’t think clearly with her there.
We get a demonstration of that fact when Antony stubbornly insists on fighting at sea. All of his men try to tell him it’s a bad idea. Even unnamed soldier explains why it is a bad idea. They are not equipped for a sea battle. Cleopatra has ships though, so they decide to fight by sea, obviously.
Act III, Scene 8
Caesar commands that they keep the fight strictly at sea and not fight on land.
Act III, Scene 9
Antony sets his squadrons on a hill so they can see how many ships Caesar has.
Act III, Scene 10
Enobarbus comes on the scene, you guessed it, for another info dump. During the fighting, Cleopatra turned tail and ran. Antony followed, turning him into an utter disgrace. Canidius decides to fight for Caesar instead. Enobarbus decides to keep fighting for Antony.
Act III, Scene 11
Antony is completely disgraced. He tells his men to divide his gold and flee. He will write letters to friends, so they can return to Rome and make peace with Caesar. They don’t want to, but he insists. He doesn’t need them for what he plans to do next.
Antony and Cleopatra are both completely dismayed at this turn of events. Antony reflects on the good old days when he killed Cassius and Brutus, but none of that matters now. Cleopatra apologizes for running. She didn’t think he would follow, but he did. Now they have to negotiate a treaty with Caesar, but kisses make it a little better.
Act III, Scene 12
The schoolmaster comes to speak with Caesar, which is not a great look for Antony. Antony asks that he be allowed to live a private life in Egypt or in Athens. Cleopatra asks that her heirs be allowed to keep Egypt. Caesar won’t let Antony have what he wants, but Cleopatra can have her way…if she kills Antony.
Caesar sends his own messenger to try to convince Cleopatra to kill Antony. He tells the messenger to flirt a little because women can’t resist the flirting.
Act III, Scene 13
Enobarbus convinces Cleopatra that this is not her fault. Antony should not have followed her, so the loss is completely on him.
Antony tells Cleopatra the terms Caesar sent. Antony thinks he is just being young and ridiculous and challenges him to a one on one duel.
Caesar’s messenger, Thyreus, approaches. At first, Cleopatra is offended that there is no ceremony, but she is quickly charmed by the young man. He tells her that Caesar knows she was conquered by Antony and did not go willingly. She agrees. Enobarbus sees the writing on the wall and goes to fetch Antony. The flirting continues until Thyreus is kissing Cleopatra’s hand.
Antony storms in and completely blames the messenger. He has him whipped. Antony turns his anger against Cleopatra for betraying his trust. She seems confused, but I’m not sure why. I personally think she’s playing dumb, which – to be fair – works.
Thyreus returns from his whipping. Antony tells him to be grateful he still has all his man parts. He wants Thyreus to tell Caesar that now Antony is angry and he wouldn’t like him when he’s angry. If Caesar doesn’t like what he has to say, than he can torture one of Antony’s men that he has prisoner, which is rude.
Antony still feels betrayed and Cleopatra still doesn’t see why. She tells him she would never sleep with Caesar or betray him. That is apparently good enough for Antony. His anger seems to have returned him to his previous self and he decides to go back to war against Caesar.
Enobarbus can’t believe what nonsense just happened and resolves to leave Antony.