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Free Study Guide-Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare-Book Notes
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SCENE SUMMARIES WITH NOTES

ACT IV, SCENE 6

Summary

The scene is set in the camp of Caesar, who is telling his men that the time of "universal peace" has arrived. He exhorts Agrippa to place Antony's defectors on the front lines and begin the battle, which he hopes will end all future wars. Caesar also says that Antony, who has just entered the battlefield, is to be captured alive. He then departs with his soldiers, leaving Enobarbus alone on stage. He contemplates his fate, remembering how Cleopatra's confidante, Alexas, was seized and hanged after defecting. As he wonders about his own safety, his treasure chests, sent by Antony, arrive. Enobarbus is suddenly overcome with remorse and grief over his defection. He decides he cannot fight against Antony and leaves the stage to look for a ditch in which to end his life.

Notes

In this scene, Caesar is depicted as a confident leader who feels certain he will defeat Antony. He tells Agrippa to put the defectors on the front lines in order to further demoralize Antony and his troops and to make certain that Antony is taken alive. He also talks about this being the battle to end all wars and thinks about becoming the sole ruler of Rome in a time of universal peace.


In contrast to the confident Caesar, Enobarbus is pictured as a frightened man who worries about his own safety as a defector in Caesar's camp. He tries to justify his defection, saying that Antony had degenerated into a fool and was governed by passion instead of reason. Then when he learns that Antony has sent his belonging to him, he becomes ashamed of his action and lack of honor. He decides he cannot fight the noble Antony and leaves to find a ditch in which to end his life.

ACT IV, SCENE 7

Summary

This short scene reveals that Antony's forces are successfully repelling Caesar's troops. Although Scarus, who has been appointed by Antony to replace Enobarbus, has been wounded, he urges his men to continue to fight bravely. Antony, excited by the victory, praises the bravery of the young Scarus before returning to the fight.

Notes

Antony and Scarus, who are both emotional and impulsive, reveal their excitement over the success they are having against Caesar's troops. Unfortunately, it will be the last moments of good fortune for Antony.

ACT IV, SCENE 8

Summary

Outside the walls of Alexandria, Antony continues to meet with success against Caesar. He is so pleased with the progress of the battle that he wants Cleopatra to know about how well things are going. Cleopatra then arrives and greets everyone. The jubilant Antony gives her a hug and presents her to Scarus, whom he praises profusely. He then tells Cleopatra that he feels he will be able to fully conquer Caesar by tomorrow. As they depart together, they plan a victory celebration.

Notes

Even on the battlefield, Antony's head is filled with thoughts of Cleopatra. Since he is meeting with success against Caesar, he wants to share the good news with her. When she arrives on the scene, he hugs her and calls her "great fairy." He then presents her to Scarus and insists that the young soldier kiss her hand, a sharp contrast to the rage he felt when he saw Thyreus doing the same thing. Cleopatra is pleased about Antony's success and praises the bravery of Scarus. She then departs with Antony to plan a celebration of the final victory, which will never come.

ACT IV, SCENE 9

Summary

This scene centers on Enobarbus. Even though it is the middle of the night, he is awake and talking to the moon in madness. In a final soliloquy, he expresses his great remorse over deserting Antony. He then falls over dead, probably from self-inflicted wounds. The guards carry his body back to Caesar's camp.

Notes

The death of Enobarbus is filled with irony. Known as a rational man who always criticized emotion, especially the passion of Antony, he is seen ranting and raving to the moon as he chastises himself for deserting Antony. He then falls dead in the moonlit night from self-inflicted wounds. At first the guards, who have been watching him and listening to his tirade, think he has only fainted. When they go to help him, however, they find that Enobarbus is dead. The body of this man, who faithfully served Antony as soldier and confidante, is then carried to Caesar's camp.

ACT IV, SCENE 10

Summary

This scene returns to the battlefield, where Antony and Scarus are talking. Since Caesar was defeated on land on the previous day, he is now preparing to fight from his ships. The confidant Antony still feels he will be victorious.

Notes

In this scene, the audience realizes that Antony is overly confident due to his victory on the previous day. Although he has proven that he can successfully fight Caesar on land, he is no match for Caesar in a naval engagement. Since Caesar is planning on an attack by sea, things are not looking good for Antony, but he naively thinks he will still be victorious.

ACT IV, SCENE 11

Summary

This scene briefly returns to Caesar, who is giving instructions to his troops. Although a naval battle is always a possibility for him, he is currently planning to hold his position on the ground. He orders that his strongest men be sent to the front lines in an effort to overcome Antony.

Notes

Caesar's cunning is again seen in this scene. He is trying to make Antony think that he is preparing for a major naval attack, hoping Antony will send his best troops to sea. Although a naval battle is still a possibility, Caesar's immediate plan is to use his strongest forces to hold his position on land in hopes of defeating Antony.

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