Summary and Analysis Act IV: Scene 5



At Antony's camp near Alexandria, a soldier brings word that Enobarbus, Antony's most trusted aide, has deserted and pledged his allegiance to Caesar's side. Moreover, Enobarbus fled in such haste that he left all his money and belongings behind. Antony is dismayed at Enobarbus's departure, but he honorably orders his former friend's belongings to be sent to him as a final gesture of friendship. Antony then tells Eros to write a letter to Enobarbus, saying in effect that Antony understands his actions and does not condemn him.


Many of Antony's actions in this play display not only a generous spirit, but at times almost a prescient awareness that he will be a victim of fate. Rationally, he knows that his love for Cleopatra has changed his destiny. In Act I, Scene 2, he reflected that his dalliance with her caused him "ten thousand harms, I know." Yet love defies reason, and so, of course, it is additionally deeply demoralizing when Antony's "voice of reason," his trusted advisor, Enobarbus, loses faith and deserts him. Yet it is to Antony's credit that he does not suddenly become incensed and hate his old friend for this act.