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Nay, weep not, gentle Eros. There is left us
Ourselves to end ourselves.
Antony returns from war, vowing to destroy Caesar’s army completely on the following day. He praises his soldiers for their valor and commands them to regale their families with tales of the day’s battle. When Cleopatra enters, Antony declares his love for her. He announces that she is the only thing that can pierce his armor and reach his heart. Antony asks Cleopatra to commend Scarus, one of his bravest soldiers. The queen promises the man a suit of golden armor that once belonged to a king. Antony leads his troops and his lover in a triumphant march through the streets of Alexandria to mark the joyous occasion.
Caesar’s sentries discuss the coming battle as Enobarbus berates himself nearby. Unaware that he is being watched, Enobarbus rails against his life, wishing for its end and hoping that history will mark him as a traitor and a fugitive. After he collapses, the sentries decide to rouse him but discover that he has died. Because he is an important man, they bear his body to their camp.
Antony determines that Caesar means to attack him by sea and declares himself ready. He wishes his enemy were equipped to fight in fire or air, swearing he would meet him in those places if he could.
Caesar holds his armies back, preparing to attack Antony at sea.
Anthony has gone with Scarus to watch the naval battle. Scarus, in an aside, condemns Cleopatra’s fleet as weak, and laments that the soothsayers refuse to share their knowledge regarding the battle’s outcome. Antony watches as the Egyptian fleet betrays him and defects to Caesar. Realizing his predicament, Antony commands Scarus to order his army to flee. Alone, the general blames Cleopatra as a deadly enchantress who has beguiled him to a state of absolute loss. When the queen enters, Antony drives her away, threatening to kill her for her betrayal.
Cleopatra returns to her maids with tales of Antony’s murderous rage. Charmian suggests that her mistress lock herself in a monument and send Antony word that she has killed herself, to quell his anger. Abiding by the plan, she bids Mardian deliver the news to Antony and asks him to return with word of her lover’s reaction.
In the Bard's hands and the amorous arms of Egypt, the courageous, gifted Antony of Julius Caesar becomes the doting fool of Antony and Cleopatra.
I just finished A&C in my attempt to read all of Shakespeare by his birthday next year. If you're interested, check out my blog on the play:
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