Several soldiers talk in Cleopatra’s palace, anxiously awaiting tomorrow’s battle. One of the soldiers says he thinks they will be victorious on land, “if to-morrow / Our navy thrive.” The soldiers hear a strange music that they think is coming from “under the earth,” and one of them interprets this as a sign that Hercules (Antony’s patron deity) is deserting him. The soldiers leave to see if they can find out more about the strange noise.
Caught in a turbulent time of civil war, the anxious soldiers try to predict what will happen the next day. The negative omen of the strange music contributes to a sense of the tragic inevitability of Antony’s defeat.