Antony and Cleopatra By William Shakespeare Summary and Analysis Act IV: Scene 2

Summary

The scene now shifts to Cleopatra's palace and focuses on Antony's reaction to Caesar's refusal to fight in "personal combat." Antony is surprised at Caesar's refusal, but he vows that he will beat him in battle.

He then calls for a meal to be served, and he compliments his servants for their loyalty. He speaks as if this is the last night they will serve him, and before long they are all weeping: even the hardened old Enobarbus is "onion-eyed" and begs Antony not to give them such discomfort, and Antony responds by laughing. He did not mean to be taken seriously, he says, and he assures those present that he expects victory — not defeat.

Analysis

Antony reveals two interesting character traits here: bravado and sentimentality. At their best, these qualities give Antony great courage and a generous and forgiving nature, but at their worst they become sentimental pap, which Enobarbus is quick to point out.

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As the play unfolds, to whom is Antony betrothed?




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