Course Hero. "Antony and Cleopatra Study Guide." Course Hero. 20 July 2017. Web. 12 May 2021. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Antony-and-Cleopatra/>.
Course Hero. (2017, July 20). Antony and Cleopatra Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved May 12, 2021, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Antony-and-Cleopatra/
(Course Hero, 2017)
Course Hero. "Antony and Cleopatra Study Guide." July 20, 2017. Accessed May 12, 2021. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Antony-and-Cleopatra/.
Course Hero, "Antony and Cleopatra Study Guide," July 20, 2017, accessed May 12, 2021, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Antony-and-Cleopatra/.
Antony, Scarus, and some others enter. Antony's army has forced Caesar's to retreat to their camp. Antony orders a soldier to bear the good news to Cleopatra. Then he delivers a speech of praise to the soldiers, saying they've fought like Hector, leader of the Trojan army.
Cleopatra enters; she's heard the good news. Antony tells her to let Scarus, hero of the hour, kiss her hand. Cleopatra promises Scarus a suit of armor made of gold, and Antony says Scarus deserves gold armor studded with rubies. He orders his army to make as much noise as possible while they parade triumphantly through Alexandria.
At this moment in Act 4, Antony's chances look good, but a 17th-century audience would be familiar with Roman history and thus would know the play's ending. No matter how much he draws out the suspense—and Act 4 is indeed suspenseful—Shakespeare had no need to fool the audience into thinking Antony would win. However, modern readers and audiences might be less enlightened.
Antony's pride and excitement function almost like a scrim here, giving extra poignancy to what the audience knows is a foregone conclusion. Shakespeare's language also provides hints of the darker fate awaiting Antony.
Once again Antony reveals ambivalence about his age. Though his brown hair is mixed with gray, he says, his brain and experience outmatch those of a younger man. Simply mentioning his age at such a triumphant moment shows being old is never off his mind.
Antony all but commands Scarus to kiss Cleopatra's hand in this scene—an uncomfortable echo of the earlier scene in which he has Thidias flogged for doing the same thing. It's almost as if he's saying, "I'm the one who decides whether her hand gets kissed." Kissing the hand of the Queen doesn't necessarily bring good luck.