Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare

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Shakespeare wishes Antony’s fall to be from the pinnacle of political power.

3 ‘what they do delay, they not deny’ – the traditional belief that gods may not give justice at once, but can be relied upon to do so eventually.

5-6 ‘We...Beg often our own harms’ – more traditional responses to the problem of unanswered prayer. It may be better for you if the prayer is unanswered: the gods know best.

13 ‘No wars without-door’ – a familiar conceit of love, particularly sexual love, as warfare.

13-14 ‘Caesar gets money where/He loses hearts’ – refers to the heavy taxes of an unpopular ruler.

21 ‘Salt Cleopatra’ = lecherous. A particularly dismissive and contemptuous phrase.

34-5 ‘His soldiership/Is twice the other twain’ – Antony’s military skill.

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William Shakespeare

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