1. Who are Philo and Demetrius? What are their concerns? These
characters appear only in the first scene of Shakespeare's play.
Why do you think Shakespeare includes them, and then gives them
no further role?
2. What does Shakespeare indicate about love in the first view
he gives us of Antony and Cleopatra?
3. Why is Antony attracted to Cleopatra, and Cleopatra to him?
4. Why does Cleopatra insist on being included in the battle?
5. Why does Antony decide to fight at sea?
7. What is the political world like at the time of Antony and Cleopatra?
What are the differences between Rome and Egypt, as Shakespeare
presents them in this play?
8. To what extent are the Roman way of life and standards of excellence
attractive to Antony? To what extent do they account for his actions
in the play, and finally, for his suicide? Are there ways in which
Antony's passions and deeds transcend, or even contradict, the Roman
way of life
and its standards?
9. Why does Cleopatra take so many Romans as lovers? Why does she
10. At what cost does Octavius offer the world "universal
11. In what ways is Antony superior to Octavius Caesar? Who is
the nobler? Which is the greater Roman? Which is the greater man?
12. Is there a place for Antony in Rome? In Egypt? Is he correct
in his suicide?
13. Is Enobarbus' death tragic? Is it as tragic as Antony's and
Cleopatra's? What does this play indicate about Shakespeare's understanding
1. Compare and contrast Antony's love of Cleopatra with that of
Candaules' love of his wife. Should Antony heed Gyges' advice to
"let each look on his own"?
2. Does Antony and Cleopatra's understanding-and deeds-of love
have more in common with Agathon's view of Love or with Socrates'?
Consider, for example, Antony's desire to be with Cleopatra after
death, "where souls do couch on flowers"? Is there any
evidence that Shakespeare would be critical of Antony and Cleopatra,
as Socrates is of Agathon?
3. Imagine Hobbes writing a review of a performance of Shakespeare's
Antony and Cleopatra. Would he find that the play, for
example, demonstrated truths about the passions and their dangers
for political life, as he explained them in the Leviathan?
Or would Hobbes find something in Shakespeare's play that qualified
his work in that book?