The Masks of Anthony and Cleopatra

By Marvin Rosenberg; Mary Rosenberg | Go to book overview

Act IV, Scene iii

As if Shakespeare had not done enough to cast doubt on Anthony’s chances in the battle tomorrow, the playwright now summons the supernatural further to shadow the future.

Enter a Company of Soldiers.

The scene is night; the men—Soldiers—may have torches, or lanterns, that pick out their faces. Two are just finishing their rounds. They are sober, their voices overcast, uneasy: the great battle next day looms.

1 Soldier: Brother, good night: tomorrow is the day!
2 Soldier: It will determine one way! Fare you well.

Then, stopping as they begin to part, something heavy on his mind, 2 Soldier looks nervously around:

Heard you of nothing … strange … about the streets?

Strange—what a haunting, stretched monosyllable here! Speak it. It will be repeated.

I Soldier [Alarmed]: Nothing! What news?!
2 Soldier: Belike ’tis but a rumour; good night to you.
1 Soldier [Worried]: Well, sir, good night.

Now another group of Soldiers enters.* Folio: They meet other Soldiers (two of whom have speaking parts).

2 Soldier: Soldiers, have careful watch.
1 Soldier [To the newcomers]: And you. Goodnight, goodnight.

*There is some confusion here. Although only four of the soldiers are given lines to speak— two from the first company, two from those who enter later—in stagings there may be more: “as many as may be,” perhaps, in Shakespeare’s own (limited) company. The dialogue suggests two men separating for the night to their respective posts, joined by two others, who then fan out to cover the four corners of the stage.

-326-

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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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