William Shakespeare



a synoptic, alphabetical character list


A "ghost character." One of the kings listed by Caesar as joining Antony's side of the war. He is the king of Thrace.


Agrippa is a follower of Caesar. At the meeting of Antony and Caesar, he suggests that Antony marry Octavia to cement the friendship of the two men. After they have left, he asks Enobarbas about Cleopatra. When Caesar and Antony say goodbye, Agrippa and Enobarbas mockingly comment on the display of emotions. During the second battle, Agrippa enters to call a retreat. After Antony's death is reported, Agrippa notes that it is a strange quirk of human nature that they grieve over the result they sought.


Alexas attends on Cleopatra. He brings in the Soothsayer to amuse both Cleopatra and her maids. He reports on Antony's departure for Rome, stating that his last thoughts are of Cleopatra. Later, when Cleopatra has beaten the Messenger that reported Antony married, Alexas excuses his fear, saying even Herod would only look on Cleopatra when she was happy. Although he appears loyal to Cleopatra all the time he is on stage, Enobarbas reports that he eventually revolted and persuaded Herod to join Caesar, and that Alexas' reward for this was to be hanged.


The Ambassador appears to Caesar after the sea battle and delivers Antony's request that he be allowed to like in Egypt, or anywhere, as a private citizen, and Cleopatra's request that she might keep her crown for her children. He returns Caesar's answer to Antony, which is that if Cleopatra will kill Antony she can remain Queen. Antony sends the Ambassador back to Caesar with a challenge of single combat.


A "ghost character." One of the kings listed by Caesar as joining Antony's side of the war. He is the king of Lycaonia.


Mark Antony is a triumvir of Rome, and the lover of Cleopatra. His men, and he himself, are worried that he is too influenced by the sensual life of Egypt, and after he hears of the death of his wife, Fulvia, Antony declares that he must break free of Cleopatra. He travels to Rome to meet with Caesar, and is reconciled with him by Lepidus and Agrippa. The latter suggests that to cement the reconciliation, Antony should marry Caesar's sister, Octavia, which Antony agrees to. However, he quickly returns to Egypt and Cleopatra, setting himself up as Emperor. Caesar declares war on him for this. Despite protestations by Enobarbas and Canidius (and the Soldier), Antony agrees to fight at sea, which turns out to be a mistake. Not only are the Romans superior, but when Cleopatra runs from the battle, Antony follows her, and therefore the battle is lost utterly. Antony becomes depressed, but is brought around by Cleopatra. When Caesar sends Thidias to Cleopatra to offer her safety if she will turn against Antony, Antony has Thidias soundly whipped, but then turns on Cleopatra and accuses her of treachery. She soon convinces him of her loyalty, and a second battle is joined. Antony at first triumphs on land, but then loses at sea and Antony believes again that Cleopatra has betrayed him. He viciously accuses her, and she locks herself in her monument and sends Mardian to tell Antony that she has died. Antony believes the lie and decides that he too should die rather than lose Cleopatra and surrender to Caesar. He first asks Eros to stab him, but Eros chooses instead to kill himself. Antony then stabs himself, but botches the job. He asks his soldiers to finish the job, but no one will. Mardian then returns and tells him that Cleopatra is not dead. Antony has himself carried to her monument, where she and her maids haul him up to safety. He dies in her arms.


A "ghost character." Mentioned several times as joining Fulvia in going to war against Caesar.


A "ghost character." Pompey reminds Antony that he took in Antony's mother when Caesar and Antony's brother were at war.


"Ghost characters." Caesar reports that Antony has set himself up as Emperor of Egypt and proclaimed his sons kings of kings.


A "ghost character." Apollodorus carried Cleopatra, wrapped in a rug or mattress, to Julius Caesar, according to a tale asked about by Pompey and confirmed by Enobarbas.


A "ghost character." One of the kings listed by Caesar as joining Antony's side of the war.


An unspecified number of Attendants enters with Antony after his defeat at sea. He urges them to take his remaining ship and make peace with Caesar. They refuse, but Antony urges them again and they leave.


A "ghost character." One of the kings listed by Caesar as joining Antony's side of the war. He is the King of Libya.


The Boy sings a song to Bacchus during the drinking that takes place on Pompey's ship.


A "ghost character." Brutus was one of the Senators who assassinated Julius Caesar. Pompey refers to their attempt to keep Rome a republic as reason for his own war.


A "ghost character." Canidius lists him as one of the soldiers who is to fight by sea.


Octavius Caesar, the adopted son of Julius Caesar, is the ruler of Rome. He is at first under attack by both Pompey and the wife and brother of Antony. The latter two are dealt with as the play opens, and Caesar sends for Antony to explain his level of involvement in their attacks. The two are reconciled and Antony even agrees to marry Octavia, Caesar's sister. Next, Caesar arranges a peace with Pompey, and that peace is sealed with a drunken banquet on Pompey's ship. However, Antony returns to Egypt and Caesar reports to his followers that he has set himself up as Emperor. Eros reports to Enobarbas that Caesar has returned to war against Pompey and won, before turning his attention to Antony. Caesar declares war. The first battle is fought at sea, and Caesar is triumphant. During a second battle, Caesar at first is beaten, but then again overcomes Antony at sea. After the battle, he hears that Antony has committed suicide, and mourns the loss of such a great man. He then sends first Procleius and then Dolabella to persuade Cleopatra to surrender to him, because he wants to take her to Rome as a prize. He meets with Cleopatra and is convinced that she will surrender, which allows her to sneak asps into her monument and commit suicide. Caesar, now with sole control of the Roman Empire, promises to provide a state funeral for the famous lovers.


A "ghost character." The son of Cleopatra and, reportedly, Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, at the last, attempts to persuade Caesar to give Egypt to him, but fails.


A "ghost character." Menas identifies him as the previous husband of Octavia, although no mention is made of what has happened to him.


Canidius is Antony's second in command. After the Soldier begs Antony not to fight by sea, Canidius agrees with him, but says that they are led by women. After the sea battle, he reports their losses to Enobarbus.


The Captain enters before the first battle and greets Antony.


A "ghost character." Cassius was one of the Senators who assassinated Julius Caesar. Pompey refers to their attempt to keep Rome a republic as reason for his own war.


Charmian is one of Cleopatra's maids. She advises Cleopatra to win Antony by agreeing with him in everything, advice Cleopatra rejects with scorn. Charmian tries to comfort her mistress after Cleopatra finds out that Antony is married, and is the one to suggest, after the final battle, that Cleopatra lock herself in her monument and send word to Antony that she is dead. After Cleopatra has died, Charmian takes the time to fix her crown and then tells the guards who have just arrived that they are too late. She then applies a snake and dies.


Cleopatra is the ruler of Egypt and the lover of Antony. She personifies Egyptian values, and is passionate, sensual and changeable. When Antony announces that he is going to Rome, she is deeply upset and refuses to see him, but then insists on sending messengers to him daily. When the Messenger brings word that Antony has married, she beats him, and is only mollified when he reports that Octavia is brown, short and boring. Antony soon returns to her, and, according to Caesar, Antony declares himself Emperor of Egypt, causing a war between Antony and Caesar. Despite Enobarbas' advice, Cleopatra insists on being part of the battle at sea. This turns out to be a mistake; Cleopatra flees the battle out of fear, and Antony follows her, leading to defeat. She apologizes and rouses his spirits, but when he finds her with a messenger of Caesar's, Antony accuses her of plotting against him. Cleopatra manages to calm his suspicions, but when the next battle is again lost at sea, he turns against her completely, viciously accusing her of joining Caesar. Unable to convince him, Cleopatra locks herself in her monument and sends word that she has died. This works better than she could have expected, and Antony stabs himself out of grief. He is brought to her monument, but Cleopatra refuses to come down, for fear of being taken. Instead, she and her maids haul Antony into the monument, where he dies. Cleopatra meets with Proculeius, who uses the opportunity to seize the monument, and to stop her from stabbing herself. Both he and Dolabella try to convince her that Caesar plans to treat her well, but she is not fooled. She pretends to submit to Caesar, but then describes to Iras how they will be paraded through Rome and mocked. She has already arranged for the Clown to bring her a basket of figs, with asps hidden in them, and when she has the snakes she has herself dressed in royal robes and then commits suicide by snakebite.


The Clown brings Cleopatra asps in a basket of figs. He makes several off color jokes about "the worm" and then departs.


Decretas is a follower of Antony, but when Antony stabs himself, Decretas takes Antony's sword and the news of his death to Caesar to curry favor with him.


Demetrius listens while Philo describes how fallen Antony is since he took up with Cleopatra, and, when Antony refuses to see Caesar's messenger, expresses amazement that Caesar is held so lightly by him.


After Antony stabs himself, believing Cleopatra dead, Diomedes arrives to tell him that she is alive, and locked in her monument. He then returns to tell Cleopatra that Antony is dying, and at the foot of the monument.


Dolabella first appears with Caesar after the sea battle, stating that Antony's Ambassador is his schoolmaster, demonstrating how few followers he has left. He is then sent by Caesar, as yet unaware that Antony has committed suicide, to try to speed Antony's surrender. Finally, he takes over from Proculeius in an attempt to persuade Cleopatra to surrender to Caesar; however, she barely allows him to speak as she focuses on her memories of Antony. He returns after he death with the others, and is the one to notice the marks on her arm and breast that point to death by snakebite.


Domitius is the first name of Enobarbas, and is used a few times by Antony.


After the final battle, the Egyptian enters to tell Caesar that Cleopatra is inside her monument and to ask what she may expect from Caesar.


Enobarbas is a follower of Antony, although he is on the side of Roman restraint and is appalled by Antony's behavior around Cleopatra. When Antony tells him they are leaving for Rome, Enobarbas mockingly responds that Cleopatra will surely die, since she claims to die over far less important events. After the reconciliation of Antony and Caesar, Enobarbas describes for Agrippa and Maecenas how Cleopatra won Antony, and claims that Antony will never leave her. When Caesar and Antony say goodbye, Agrippa and Enobarbas mockingly comment on the display of emotions. Before the first battle, Enobarbas speaks out strongly against fighting at sea, but is ignored. After the battle, he tells Cleopatra that Antony is to blame for following her. Enobarbas turns against Antony because he will not leave Cleopatra, and joins Caesar's side. However, when he is told that Antony has sent his treasure after him, with extra, he is overwhelmed by guilt and decides to die. He does so, calling on Antony at the last.


Eros is a follower of Antony. He reports Pompey's murder and Lepidus' imprisonment on spurious charges of treason. After the first battle, Eros rouses Antony from his depression by leading Cleopatra to him, and telling Antony how despairing she is. Eros helps Antony arm before the second battle, a job taken over by Cleopatra, and then is praised by Antony for his courage in battle. When Antony thinks Cleopatra is dead and decides to die as well, he asks Eros to stab him. Eros at first refuses outright, and then asks Antony to look away when he strikes. Once Antony is turned away, Eros stabs himself instead and dies.


A "ghost character." Fulvia is Antony's first wife, and the cause of the tension between Antony and Caesar because Fulvia made war in Italy to, as Antony believed, draw his attention. She dies early in the play.


Gallus is sent by Caesar with Proculeius to parley with Cleopatra, and is listed as entering with Caesar in the final scene, but does not speak.


A "ghost character." The son of Pompey the Great, and older brother of Sextus Pompey. One of Cleopatra's previous lovers.


The First Guard is one of those who finds Antony after he tries to commit suicide. With the others, he dramatically laments the end of his General, and refuses to help kill Antony. After Cleopatra's death, the First Guard also tells Caesar that a countryman brought her figs, and points out the marks of the asp, although this may be another character with the same name. The Second Guard is also one of those who finds Antony after the suicide attempt; he also laments his General and refuses suicide assistance. After Cleopatra's death, the Second Guard also tells Dolabella that all the women are dead. The Third Guard accompanies the First and Second.


Guardsman is the speech heading used to identify the man who tells Cleopatra that the Clown has arrived with a present of figs. He appears to be the same character as the First Guard (q.v.) since the First Guard is the one who knows that the Clown was last with her.


A "ghost character." Herod was the King of the Jews and responsible for the Slaughter of the Innocents. Cleopatra several times speaks of wanting his allegiance, and Caesar lists him as one of the kings who has joined with Antony, but finally Enobarbas reports that Alexas has turned him towards Caesar.


A "ghost character." A consul who fought against Antony. Caesar reminisces about Antony's fortitude during the battle.


Iras is one of Cleopatra's maids. Although she is onstage as often as Charmian, she does not speak nearly so often, and is more often just an onlooker. She does urge Cleopatra to go to Antony after the first battle, and speak to him. After Caesar meets with Cleopatra, she tells Iras that they will both be paraded through Rome and parodied on stage. Iras responds that she will not see it, because she will scratch out her own eyes first. Iras and Charmian help Cleopatra to dress in her royal robes, and then Cleopatra kisses them both. At this point, Iras dies, causing Cleopatra to wonder if she has the asp in her lips.


A "ghost character." The adopted father of Octavius Caesar and former lover of Cleopatra. He is mentioned multiple times by characters as a guide for their decisions and behavior.


A "ghost character." One of the kings listed by Caesar as joining Antony's side of the war.


A "ghost character." Quintus Labienus is reported to have turned against Caesar and raised a Parthian army, taking Syria, Lydia and Ionia.


Lepidus is the third member of the triumvirate, with Caesar and Antony, but functions more as Caesar's second in command. When Antony and Caesar agree to meet, it is Lepidus who reconciles them. When the three make peace with Pompey and dine on his ship, Lepidus becomes completely drunk, and is made fun of by both Antony and the servants. Eros reports that after the wars with Pompey, Caesar had Lepidus thrown in prison on trumped up charges of treason.


A "ghost character." Livia is Caesar's wife. Cleopatra excuses holding back some of her treasure as gifts for Livia and Octavia.


A "ghost character." Antony's brother and a consul. He is reported as first fighting against Fulvia and then joining with her against Caesar.


Maecenas is a follower of Caesar. After the meeting between Caesar and Antony, Maecenas states to Enobarbas that Antony must leave Cleopatra, but Enobarbas responds that this will never happen. He is with Caesar when the latter reports that Antony has set himself up as Emperor in Egypt, and Maecenas responds that Rome will not stand for such behavior. He also welcomes back Octavia, claiming that all of Rome feels sympathy for her. After winning the first battle, Maecenas urges Caesar to push his advantage, and not give Antony time to recover. When Antony's death is reported to Caesar and his followers, Maecenas says that his greatness and weaknesses were equally balanced.


A "ghost character." One of the kings listed by Caesar as joining Antony's side of the war. He is the king of Arabia.


A "ghost character." A member, with Julius Caesar and Pompey the Great of the first triumvirate, treacherously killed by Orodes. Ventidius claims his death is revenged by the death of Parthia.


A "ghost character." Canidius lists him as one of the soldiers who is to fight by sea.


A "ghost character." Canidius lists him as one of the soldiers who is to fight by sea.


Mardian is a eunuch who serves Cleopatra. After Antony leaves, Cleopatra says she wants nothing to do with eunuchs, but asks Mardian if he has lustful thoughts, which he admits to. After the second battle, Cleopatra sends Mardian to Antony with the false report that she is dead. He describes her as dying speaking Antony's name, and so convinces Antony that he stabs himself. Although he is listed in the stage directions of the final scene, he does not die with Cleopatra and her maids.


Menas is a follower of Pompey. He is disgusted that Pompey agrees to a peace with Caesar and Antony, saying Pompey's father would not have done so. During the celebration of peace on board Pompey's ship, Menas secretly suggests to Pompey that they set sail and kill Caesar, Antony and Lepidus. When Pompey responds that he is too honorable to do such a thing, and that Menas should have done the deed without asking, Menas decides to leave Pompey.


Menecrates is a follower of Pompey. He tries to bolster Pompey's spirits by claiming that the gods may delay reward, but not deny it.


Although it is not clear that it is always the same character, the Messenger appears a number of times, in the camps of both Antony and Caesar. He first appears to Antony with news from Rome, and is put off by Antony. When Antony finally does listen to his message, the Messenger tells him that Fulva has begun a war against Rome, and has been joined by Antony's brother Lucius. He then appears in Rome to tell Caesar that Pompey is strong at sea and gaining friends of those who feared Caesar. After Antony marries Octavia, the Messenger has the unwelcome task of telling Cleopatra, for which she beats him, although he wins her favor later by reporting that Octavia is short, ugly and slow of speech. The Messenger next appears to Antony before the first battle to inform him that Caesar has taken Toryne, and finally to tell Caesar that Antony has taken the field. The Second Messenger reports to Antony that the Third Messenger-a man from Sicyon-wishes to speak to him. Although it may be a different character, the Second Messenger appears to Caesar to tell him that that the pirates Menecrates and Menas are roaming the seas unhindered. The Third Messenger reports to Antony that Fulvia is dead, and gives him a letter with the details of her last illness and death.


A "ghost character." One of the kings listed by Caesar as joining Antony's side of the war. He is the king of Comagenes.


Octavia is the sister of Caesar. On the advice of Agrippa, she is married to Antony, as a way to bind them together. She is described by Enobarbas as holy, cold and still, and she herself promises to pray for Antony when they are separated. When Antony prepares to go to war against Caesar, Octavia protests, but is unable to move him, winning only his consent that she can attempt a reconciliation. Caesar refuses to stop his war preparations when she arrives, but he happily takes her back under his protection.


A "ghost character." Orodes treacherously killed Marcus Crassus, a death which is revenged when Ventidius kills his son Pacorus.


Present only as a dead body. Pacorus was the son of Orodes, who treacherously killed Marcus Crassus. That death is revenged by Ventidius when he kills Pacorus.


A "ghost character." A consul who fought against Antony. Caesar mentions him while reminiscing about Antony's fortitude during the battle.


A "ghost character." One of the kings listed by Caesar as joining Antony's side of the war. He is the king of Paphlagonia.


Philo opens the play talking with Demetrius about Antony's fall from a great general to Cleopatra's plaything. After Antony refuses to hear Caesar's messenger, Philo comments that sometimes Antony is not himself.


A "ghost character." Enobarbas reports that it is reported in Rome that Photinus, a eunuch and Cleopatra's maids run the war. It is not clear if Photinus is the name of the eunuch, or another character.


A "ghost character." One of the kings listed by Caesar as joining Antony's side of the war. He is the king of Mede.


Pompey is at war with Rome, believing that if Caesar and Antony are fighting he has a chance to win against Rome at sea. He is disturbed to hear that Antony and Caesar have reconciled, and agrees to meet with them before fighting. When he is offered Sicily and Sardinia, he agrees to peace, and feasts Caesar, Antony and Lepidus on his ship. While all are on board, Menas suggests that they sail out to sea and kill the three. Pompey responds that he would have been pleased if Menas had done the deed, but he himself cannot knowingly agree to it. Eros later reports that there is a war between Caesar and Pompey, and that one of Antony's officers has killed Pompey, an act which angers Antony since Pompey might have been an ally against Caesar (although historically Antony ordered the death).


A "ghost character." The father of Sextus Pompey, the current Pompey. He fought against Julius Caesar and is referred to by several characters as an exemplum of bravery.


Proculeius is sent by Caesar to make sure Cleopatra does not commit suicide. He distracts her so that soldiers can enter and guard her, and disarms her when she tries to stab herself. He then tries to convince her that Caesar will be merciful and she should trust to him. He has made no impression on her when Dolabella enters to recall him to Caesar's side, and to take his place.


A "ghost character." Canidius lists him as one of the soldiers who is to fight by sea.


After the first battle, Scarus reports to Enobarbas that Cleopatra's ships fled the battle and that Antony followed. During the second battle, Scarus is wounded, but pleased at the way Antony has fought. However, once again, he declares that the battle is not going well because of Cleopatra.


Seleucus is Cleopatra's treasurer. When she asks him to confirm that the list she has given to Caesar contains a true account of all her wealth, he instead reveals that she has reported less than half.


The Sentry enters with the Watch. When Enobarbas enters, the Sentry suggests they overhear his words rather than interfere. He is also the one who realizes Enobarbas is dead.


The Servant announces the arrival of Thidias, and then, on Antony's orders, takes him off to be whipped. He reports back that Thidias was soundly whipped and begged pardon.


The First and Second Servants comically describe how drunk Lepidus is and how little real power he has.


The Servitors respond with suitable horror when a depressed Antony suggests that he should do them service as they serve him.


This is the full name of the character known in the play generally as Pompey.


Silius fights with Ventidius when he kills Pacorus, and urges him to seize the moment and attack Media and Mesopotamia, claiming Antony will reward him for his successes. However, Ventidius disagrees, pointing out that captains who exceed their generals lose rather than gain favor.


A "ghost character." Menas reports that Caesar and Lepidus are in the field and when Pompey doubts him, he says he has the information from Silvius.


Before the first battle, the Soldier enters and begs Antony not to fight at sea. Antony refuses to listen but, after he and Cleopatra have left, Canidius tells the Soldier that he is right. Just before the second battle, the Soldier enters and is complimented by Antony for being early so ready. The Soldier responds that a thousand more are equally ready. Since no mention is made of the earlier disagreement, it is unclear if this is the same character.


After Enobarbas has deserted Antony for Caesar, the Soldier tells him that Antony has sent all his treasure after him, with more besides.


The Soldiers, as a group, greet Antony before the first battle, but they also are standing watch when they hear music in the air. The Second Soldier identifies it as the music of Hercules, a god beloved by Antony. The Third Soldier responds negatively to the Fourth Soldier's concern about whether or not the music bodes well. All four are amazed and follow the music off stage.


The Soothsayer reads Iras and Charmian's palms, and declares that they will be more loving than beloved, and will outlive their mistress. After Antony marries Octavia, he asks the Soothsayer whose fortunes will rise higher, his or Caesar's. The Soothsayer predicts that Caesar will have better fortune and therefore Antony should stay away from him.


A "ghost character." Sossius was a lieutenant of Antony's. Ventidius claims he lost Antony's favor when he achieved too much in battle and gained great renown.


Taurus is one of Caesar's commanders. Caesar tells him not to attack on land.


Thidias is a follower of Caesar and is sent by him to see if Cleopatra will betray Antony. Cleopatra appears to be listening to him, but when Antony enters and sees Thidias kissing her hand, he becomes enraged and has Thidias whipped and sent off.


Varrius is a follower of Pompey, who reports to Pompey that Antony is expected momentarily in Rome and may already be there.


Ventidius is a follower of Antony. He is present at the first reconciliation of Antony and Caesar, although he does not speak. Ventidius then fights in Parthia and kills the son of Orodes, Pacorus, because Orodes treacherously killed Marcus Crassus. However, when Silius suggests that Ventidius should follow up this victory with further attacks, Ventidius disagrees, pointing out that captains who exceed their generals lose rather than gain favor.


With the Sentry and the Second Watch, the First Watch overhears Enobarbas' dying speech of regret. The First Watch recognizes that Enobarbas has collapsed, rather than simply fallen asleep. The Second Watch, however, mistakes Enobarbas' collapse for sleep, and believes, even at the end, that he might recover.