How Does This Passage Characterise the Relationship Between Antony and Cleopatra and How Does This Compare to Its Portrayal in Other Roman Sources in Book 1, Chapter 1?

Plutarch was a Greek historian and biographer.   Although he has written about Cleopatra and Antony’s relationship, he was writing 150 years after their deaths.   Plutarch wrote with the intention of giving a moral lesson on the fall of great Roman men, his most notable subject being Mark Antony.

Antony’s rage at having apparently been betrayed by Cleopatra, forced her to hide in her tomb whilst having a message sent to Antony that she was dead.   Upon receiving this message, Antony immediately forgets the betrayal and mourns Cleopatra.   Antony says that Cleopatra's death “...has taken away the one excuse which could still make [him] desire to live.”.   Antony goes from angry to devastated showing just how big of an impact Cleopatra had on him.   At just the thought that Cleopatra is dead, he attempts to kill himself.   For a Roman man, particularly one of his standing, this was incredibly out of character.   This also shows how manipulative Cleopatra could be.   She was terrified of Antony’s rage, which made her run and hide, but as soon as Antony tried to kill himself, Cleopatra revealed her lie and ordered him to be brought to her.

Plutarch and Cassius Dio both seem to agree that Antony was not himself, that he was “bewitched” (Scott-Kilvert, 2008, p.27) by Cleopatra.   It has been noted that since meeting the Queen, Antony became a “…shadow of his former, manly Roman self.” (Fear, 2008, p. 7).   Rome was all about order and hierarchy.   The men ruled and the women generally had no say in the country’s politics.   For Antony to become so obsessed with a woman was unheard of in those times and was seen as a huge weakness.   The fact that the woman he fell for was the ruler of Egypt, a country seen as indulgent and reckless was of great offence.   Antony abandoned his entire way of life and his history, to stand and fight by Cleopatra’s side.

Plutarch admits that Cleopatra's beauty “... was not of that incomparable kind which instantly captivates the beholder.” but...