Antony and Cleopatra

Antony and Cleopatra


William Shakespeare

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Antony and Cleopatra: Act 4, Scene 6 Summary & Analysis

Read our modern English translation of this scene.
At his camp, Octavius orders his commander Agrippa to begin the battle, saying that “the time of universal peace is near.” He orders for deserters from Antony’s forces to be put in the front lines, so that Antony’s men will seem to be fighting themselves.
Octavius orders for the battle to begin, seeking “universal peace” through absolute power over the Mediterranean world. He has designed a clever stratagem in placing Antony’s deserters in the front lines.
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Enobarbus reflects on his recent change of loyalties, and notes that those who have left Antony for Octavius have not been treated particularly well. He regrets leaving Antony. A soldier enters, bearing Enobarbus’ treasure sent from Antony. Seeing Antony’s kindness, Enobarbus regrets his decision even more, calling himself “alone the villain of the earth.” He resolves not to fight against Antony but to “go seek / Some ditch wherein to die.”
Enobarbus quickly regrets betraying Antony and joining the forces of Octavius. His decision to “go seek / Some ditch wherein to die,” rather than fighting against Antony is an attempt to salvage at least some of his honor.
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