Study Guide

The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra Act IV, Scene ii

By William Shakespeare

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Act IV, Scene ii

  • Antony receives news that Caesar won’t fight him man-to-man. Enobarbus proposes it’s because Caesar thinks his fortunes are about twenty times better than Antony’s, making it an unfair fight. Antony promises to throw himself into the next day’s battle whole-heartedly.
  • Antony gathers all of his men and praises them in a way that makes it seem like he’s saying goodbye to them once and for all.
  • Enobarbus and Cleopatra speak to each other in whispers, wondering what the dickens Antony is doing. The way Antony thanks his soldiers for their good fight (and wishes them farewell) makes it seem like he expects death and defeat in the next day’s battle. Not much of a morale booster.
  • Eventually, even Enobarbus is in tears, as are the soldiers. Antony chides them, claiming he didn’t mean to be a drama queen. He just wanted to comfort them and convince them they should make this night a great one.
  • Interestingly, he says he expects out of tomorrow "victorious life [rather than] death and honor."
  • Either way, Antony is in a bad way, and like many men in a bad way, he instructs them all feast so they can drown their dark thoughts with drinking.

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