In the Egyptian palace at Alexandria, two Roman soldiers, Demetrius and Philo, discuss Mark Antony’s besotted infatuation for Cleopatra, the Queen of Egypt. Their conversation is interrupted by the arrival of the couple and their entourage. Cleopatra and Antony are in the throes of their passionate love affair and Cleopatra implores her lover to remind her how much he loves her. However, they are then interrupted by a message from Rome. Cleopatra taunts Antony that maybe his jealous wife, Fulvia, is sending him orders, which induces him to denounce Rome and embrace his one, true love. As they both leave, Demetrius and Philo wonder how Antony can show so much contempt for his fellow leader, Octavius Caesar, and for Rome.
Across the palace, the queen’s entourage consult a soothsayer, who predicts their fortunes. They lightheartedly reject his prediction that they are nearing the end of their lives. Cleopatra enters, seeking Antony. She is annoyed that he has rejected her for “a