Antony and Cleopatra Act 3, Scene 10 Summary & Analysis
New! Understand every line of Antony and Cleopatra.Read our modern English translation of this scene.
Canidius leads Antony’s land forces in one direction, and Taurus leads Octavius’ in another. Octavius’ and Antony’s navies fight a sea battle. Enobarbus cries out that Antony is fleeing the fight. An Egyptian named Scarus says, “we have kiss’d away / Kingdoms and provinces.” He says that the battle was even, and no one was clearly winning, but then Cleopatra fled. Antony immediately turned and followed her. He remarks on how shameful and dishonorable Antony’s behavior is.
Cleopatra’s flight reinforces Enobarbus’ opinion that she, as a woman, should not have gone into battle. Antony flees after her, caring more for her safety than for his men or the outcome of the battle. This marks him as dishonorable (and unmanly) to his men. Antony is under Cleopatra's control, in the sense that she is his priority above all other things.
Canidius enters and says, “our fortune on the sea is out of breath.” Antony’s navy has followed his example and fled. He says that he will go surrender himself to Octavius. Enobarbus says that he will keep supporting Antony, even though his better judgment advises him against it.
Antony’s strategy to fight by sea has failed, and he seems to have lost his military and political power to Octavius. Enobarbus now faces a dilemma and must decide between loyalty to Antony and his own prospects for safety.