Antony and Cleopatra - Act 4, Scene 9 Summary & Analysis

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Summary

Caesar's guards are talking about plans to attack at dawn. Enobarbus is heard praying to the moon for forgiveness from Antony and for a quick death. He dies.

Analysis

For Roman writers, like Seneca, with whom Shakespeare and his contemporaries would have been familiar, suicide was considered a noble death; for Shakespeare's Christian audiences, it would be considered a sin, which would carry terrible spiritual consequences. If we choose to assume that Enobarbus' death was self-inflicted, (he certainly wished for it), we can understand it as the fitting and honorable result of his disloyalty.

The moon is a symbol of war and wisdom, represented in Roman mythology by the god Apollo. Enobarbus' prayer to the moon can be seen as a final gesture to the traditional values that he has abandoned in joining Caesar.

The conversation between the guards informs us that Caesar has cleverly opted to...

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This section contains 184 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy the Antony and Cleopatra Study Guide
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Antony and Cleopatra from Shakespeare for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.