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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 3

Summary

Guards stationed near the palace in Alexandria hear unearthly subterranean music and attribute it to the departure of Hercules, from whom Antony was supposed to have descended. They comment that "Hercules, whom Antony lov'd / Now leaves him," making Antony more vulnerable then ever.

Notes

This scene is another foreshadowing of the impending doom that is about to come. The guards, when they hear a subterranean rumbling, explain it as an ill omen and are convinced that Hercules has deserted Antony.


ACT IV, SCENE 4

Summary

After the merry-making of the feast, Antony is restless and cannot sleep. Finally giving up on a good night's rest, he tells Eros to help him into his armor. In spite of his protestations, Cleopatra insists on helping Antony lace his armor. Then in an open display of his affection, Antony tells her, "Thou art / The armorer of my heart." He further displays his love for her by calling Cleopatra a squire. Before he departs, he gives her a soldier's kiss, crushing her against his armor. When he leaves, an emotionally overwrought Cleopatra must be led to her chamber by Charmian.

Notes

This light and tender scene breaks the tension before the scenes of the final battle and the deaths of Antony and Cleopatra. It is again obvious that the two lovers genuinely care for one another, as Cleopatra helps him dress in his armor and as Antony gives her a final hug and calls her "the armorer of my heart" and a squire. Although a sense of doom hangs in the air, Antony tries to be positive. As the trumpets sound to announce the morning of battle, he tells his men that the day looks good. Cleopatra, however, has her doubts. As she goes to her chamber, she expresses her fear about the outcome of the battle and wishes that Caesar had agreed to a personal combat.

ACT IV, SCENE 5

Summary

When the veteran soldier who had pleaded with Antony to fight by land wishes him luck, he expresses regret for his decision to fight the naval battle. Then when he learns that Enobarbus has defected to Caesar's camp, he again expresses sadness, blaming himself for the defection. Learning that Enobarbus had left in such haste that he left behind his belongings, Antony sends them to him. He also writes his friend a letter in which he states that he understands his actions and forgives him, for "my fortunes have corrupted honest men."

Notes

This scene depicts a humbled Antony, who wins the sympathy of the audience. He tells the veteran soldier who had pleaded with him to fight by land that he was correct to warn against the naval battle. Then when he learns that Enobarbus has defected to Caesar, Antony forgives him. With generosity and lack of malice, he sends Enobarbus his belongings and writes him a letter saying that he understands his action and claiming he has caused it.

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