The Masks of Anthony and Cleopatra

By Marvin Rosenberg; Mary Rosenberg | Go to book overview

Act II, Scene ii

The force of the play has been driving toward this confrontation between Anthony and Caesar. This is the summit: the two most powerful men in the world will meet, with the Roman empire at stake.

Enter Enobarbus and Lepidus.

Lepidus proclaims the urgency when he exhorts Enobarbus to pacify Anthony. Here too it is easy to play Lepidus a fool; but to do that washes out the tension Shakespeare is building. Lepidus is not at all Plutarch’s cunning fellow—Shakespeare makes him kindly and reasonable; but he is a man of substance, master of a third of the world, and he knows shrewdly how explosive and ruinous could be this meeting of his two mightier associates. He must not be unworthy of them.

As he enters with Enobarbus, on the Roman scene again, looking first to see they are alone, he speaks earnestly, confidentially:

Good Enobarbus, ’tis a worthy deed,
And shall become you well, to entreat your captain
To soft and gentle speech!

(Entreat. Lepidus is not a man to assert himself. Do we recall the end of 1.4 where he beseeches Caesar to keep him informed?)

Enobarbus, crusty and combative, not too happy to be torn from Egypt, in full support of his general, would love a fight back here in Rome.

                       I shall entreat him
To answer like himself.

Like Hercules. Like Mars.

Enobarbus, like Lepidus, expects fireworks: and he welcomes the idea:

                                       By Jupiter,
Were I the wearer of Anthonio’s beard,
I would not shave’t today.

-151-

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The Masks of Anthony and Cleopatra
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 7
  • Preface 9
  • Acknowledgments 17
  • Introduction 21
  • Act One 39
  • Act I, Scene I 41
  • Anthony 70
  • Cleopatra 80
  • Act I, Scene II 86
  • Act I, Scene III 104
  • Octavius 118
  • Act I, Scene IV 123
  • Act I, Scene V 133
  • Act Two 143
  • Act II, Scene I 145
  • Act II, Scene II 151
  • Act 2, Scene III 174
  • Act II, Scene IV 180
  • Act II, Scene V 181
  • Act 2, Scene VI 197
  • Act II, Scene VII 207
  • Act Three 225
  • Act III, Scene I 227
  • Act III, Scene II 231
  • Act III, Scene III 239
  • Act III, Scene IV 246
  • Act III, Scene V 251
  • Act III, Scene VI 254
  • Act III, Scene VII 262
  • Act III, Scenes VIII, IX, and X 272
  • Act III, Scene XI 278
  • Act III, Scene XII 288
  • Act III, Scene XIII 293
  • Act Four 315
  • Act IV, Scene I 317
  • Act IV, Scene II 320
  • Act IV, Scene III 326
  • Act IV, Scene IV 329
  • Act IV, Scene V 335
  • Act IV, Scene VI 337
  • Act IV, Scene VII 341
  • Act IV, Scene VIII 344
  • Act IV, Scene IX 349
  • Act IV, Scenes X, XI, XII, and XIII 352
  • Act IV, Scene XIV 362
  • Act IV, Scene XV 379
  • Act Five 393
  • Act V, Scene I 395
  • Act V, Scene II 403
  • Is Anthony and Cleopatra a Tragedy? 473
  • Epilogue 480
  • A Note on the Historical Cleopatra 69 Bc–30 BC 482
  • Critical and Theatrical Bibliographies 489
  • Critical Bibliography 491
  • Theatrical Bibliography 532
  • Index 597
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