Synopsis of the Play: It is 41 B.C. when the play starts. The setting of the play is located in Egypt and Rome. The two main protagonists of the play are Mark Anthony—the great Roman hero and conqueror—and Cleopatra—the Queen with captivating beauty of Ancient Egypt. Mark Anthony is one of the three rulers—the others being Octavius Caesar and Lepidus— of the Roman Empire.
Anthony is having an exceptional love affair with Cleopatra. Anthony, the Roman Hero, prefers to spend his time at leisure in Egypt as a consort to Queen Cleopatra rather than in Rome doing his duty as commander in the service of Julius Caesar. Antony is content to shun the affairs of Italy in order to while away the time with his beloved. Anthony’s wife, Fluvia, dies and Pompey—son of the defeated former king of Roman Empire— is leading a revolt against the rule of Julius Caesar and Anthony. As a result, the three rulers of Rome—Caesar, Lepidus and Anthony—hold a meeting to confirm the importance of their alliance. Antony has to leave for Rome and his departure leaves Cleopatra restless and moody. As sign of good faith with his allies, Anthony agrees to marry Octavia, Caesar’s widowed sister. Cleopatra receives news of this marriage and she is outraged. While Anthony and Octavia are setting off on their honeymoon, Caesar betrays Antony and he breaks the truce with Pompey, wages war against him. Octavia maintains peaceful relation with her brother. Antony sends his wife Octavia on a peace mission. Once she is gone, Antony returns to Egypt. In Egypt Antony—with the help of Cleopatra—raises an army to fight Caesar. Caesar is angered by Antony’s treatment of his sister, and so he commands his army to Fight Antony heading to Egypt. During the naval battle, Cleopatra’s ship flees and Antony follows her leaving his fleet defeated. Antony soon forgives Cleopatra and he sends a request to Caesar in Rome to allow him to live in Egypt. Likewise Cleopatra sends a request that her kingdom be passed down to her heirs. Caesar in Rome rejects the request of Antony but promises a fair hearing for Cleopatra if she betrays her lover. Another day brings another battle and once again Antony confronts Caesar at sea. As before, the Egyptian fleet abandoned the fight and left Antony to suffer defeat. Antony is outraged and believes that Cleopatra has betrayed him and he vows to kill her. In order to protect herself, Cleopatra hides in her tomb and sends false news to Antony abroad that she had committed suicide, which is not true. Antony’s heart is racked with grief and he commands one of his attendants to kill him. The attendant cannot do it and he kills himself. So, Antony is left alone and he has to kill himself and so he falls upon his sword. Afterwards, he is mortally wounded; he is carried by the remaining attendants at the battle to Cleopatra’s palace, where he dies in her arms. Life has become desolate and unbearable for Cleopatra to live on her own without her lover. She thinks of joining Antony and she also thinks of a way to defeat Caesar. Caesar wants to humiliate Cleopatra by dragging her to Rome as a prisoner of war, a slave. Cleopatra kills herself with the help of a poisonous snake smuggled to her in a basket of figs. She dies with her pride intact and preserves her honor. When Caesar finally finds the lovers, he—out of respect for their love— orders that they be buried side by side, letting them forever together in death, as they could not in life.