Interpret Plutarch Text

Plutarch ‘born before 50 CE, died after 120 CE’ (Fear, 2008, p.9) is among the earliest
writers who in the light of the present text extracted from ‘life of Antony’. He provides us
with an analysis of the liaison between Cleopatra and Antony. Moreover the story of
Cleopatra and Antony stirred the interest of others many historians, ancient and
contemporary, scholars and film-makers. However a number of questions related to this
relationship need to be discussed. How Plutarch does views this relationship? As a Roman
historian did he approve Antony’s attitude? What accounts does he attribute to Cleopatra?
This essay will interrogate the above questions and more.

Looking at first glance, Plutarch presents the liaison between Cleopatra and Antony as
eccentric and unconventional since it contradicts Antony’s Roman conventional values
which championed ‘mainly, austere, disciplined and principled’ (Fear, 2008, p.14).

As well, Plutarch depicted Antony utterly dominated by Cleopatra who ‘kept him in constant
tutelage, and released him neither night or day’, and also, it gives the impression that he is
the prisoner of the ‘Egyptian’. Here by referring Cleopatra as ‘Egyptian’ Plutarch is
attributing to her all the dejected Roman views of ‘Egypt as effeminate, reckless, indulgent
and debauched’ (Ibid).

Furthermore, Plutarch perceives the relationship between both leaders to be advantageous
to Cleopatra as she insinuated: ‘the hunting of cities, realms and continents’ seems to
suggest that she is acquainted that Antony can empower her realm through his political
position. In contrast with Antony, Plutarch refers to his appalling attitude ‘would try to array
himself like a servant’ which the attributed word ‘servant’ might be referred to an immature
and irrational description of his behaviour; especially on the part of a Roman General, such
as Antony, which his nation ‘did not value romantic love’ (Fear, 2008, p.11)....