Cleopatra and Anthony

Part 1 Cleopatra

Carefully read the following extract several times. How does this passage characterise the relationship between Antony and Cleopatra how does this compare to its portrayal in other Roman sources in Book 1, Chapter1?

The characterisation of the relationship between Antony and Cleopatra in the extract from Plutarch uses words such as ‘abandoned’ and ‘deserted’ to describe how Antony feels about his relationship not only with his armies and Rome but also eventually with Cleopatra. His leaving Rome for Cleopatra was seen by Plutarch as a betrayal. Antony had become so besotted by Cleopatra that he had become weak and a lesser leader of men, Antony said of himself ‘I am ashamed that an Imperator such as I have been should prove in the end to have less courage than a woman’ Plutarch is saying that a woman has less courage than a man but this can not be said of Cleopatra who was a strong willed woman who had enticed Antony with her intelligence, wealth and sexual prowess. Through her relationship with Antony, Cleopatra had become stronger, the relationship had become unequal and she held the balance of that power.   The admonishment of Antony in the extract shows that Plutarch feels Antony was a weak fool, having every whim catered to by Cleopatra, almost childlike ‘crying out in his rage’, when realising he had been abandoned by his fleet. Cleopatra, as soon as she knew that Antony had been abandoned by Rome and his armies, did the same to him. She withdrew and barricaded herself against him and Rome, ‘let down the hanging doors which were strengthened with bars and bolts’, sending a message that she had died. Antony believing this to be true, never doubting Cleopatra for a moment, killed himself, ‘Fate has taken away the one excuse which could still make you desire to live’. It was not for Rome he wanted to live but only for Cleopatra.
When looking at the writing of Augustus he makes it very clear that it was almost inevitable that...