The Masks of Anthony and Cleopatra

By Marvin Rosenberg; Mary Rosenberg | Go to book overview

Act IV, Scene vi

Flourish. Enter Agrippa, Caesar, with Enobarbus, and Dolabella.

The men march in, sometimes to drumbeats. The atmosphere is precise, unemotional, instantly different from Anthony’s camp. Many troops, and the sounds of a great army, have been sensed in the background. Caesar himself (again) has not always been in armor; his lieutenants are fully helmeted and armed. Enobarbus hangs back. He does not belong here.

Caesar has his crisp map, issues blunt orders, sometimes again with the suddenly pointing finger for emphasis:

Go forth, Agrippa, and begin the fight:

As the solders salute and start to leave—“wait!”:

  Our will is Anthony be took alive:
        Make it so known.
Agrippa: Caesar, I shall.

And off he and Dolabella go.*

Now Caesar, alone (except for the unhappy Enobarbus, in the background. Does Caesar want the newcomer to hear? Or Dolabella?):

The time of universal peace is near …

Universal peace: like Anthony, Caesar thinks on a worldwide scale. This is as close as Shakespeare lets Caesar get to any idealism. Why does the playwright have him say it—apparently—when no one is there, except Enobarbus, to whom Caesar never speaks directly? On stage Caesar has proclaimed this as if an oration to an absent multitude. More likely, for a believer in Caesar’s goodness, the speech would be an individual vision, spoken heartfeltly to himself, hands clasped.

But I see, instead, the practical Caesar signing to his scribe to take a note; to me the speech sounds as if the playwright intended it as propaganda in Caesar’s

*No exit is marked here in Folio. Conceivably Dolabella may remain.

-337-

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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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