What Does the Passage Tell Us About Plutarch's View of the Relationship Between Anthony & Cleopatra?
The extract is taken from Plutarch’s Life of Antony which is the principal ancient source for events of Antony, Cleopatra and Octavian (Fear, 2008, p.9). Plutarch is writing from a Roman perspective approximately 150 years after the events took place, this gap in year’s means Plutarch’s account of events could be called into question. As suggested by Trevor Fear ancient historians often used their own judgement and imagination in recounting events therefore as modern readers we should be cautious of the accuracy (Fear, 2008, p.8). The traditional Roman view that was likely to have influence Plutarch’s writings was that Cleopatra was wildly ambitious and used this to manipulate Antony (Fear, 2008, p.17).
The extract tells us that Plutarch has adopted this tradition in this writing saying Cleopatra has 'kept him in constant tutelage' (line 2, Plutarch, in AA100 Assignment Booklet, 2011, p.18) shows that he believes Cleopatra has a hold over Antony.
Plutarch saying Cleopatra would 'go with him (Antony) on this round of mad follies' shows that he feels the relationship between them is controlled by Cleopatra, she does not allow him to do anything on his own and control every aspect of his life. Throughout this extract and the rest of Plutarch’s writings it is clear he feels Cleopatra has bewitched Antony and turned him from a veteran statesman and warrior into the equivalent of a spoilt youth (Fear, 2008, p.11)
Although the language towards Cleopatra is generally derogatory referring to her as 'The Egyptian' (line 14, Plutarch, in AA100 Assignment Booklet, 2011, p.18) the examples which Plutarch gives shows Antony as weak and unable to resist Cleopatra's charms. Plutarch’s description of the fishing trip (line 11-23, Plutarch, in AA100 Assignment Booklet, 2011, p.18) further demonstrates the one sided nature of Antony and Cleopatra's relationship. He used this event to show that Cleopatra was manipulating Antony to demonstrate her power, purposefully inviting...