Antony and Cleopatra is a Shakespearian play that focuses on the events that
take place whilst Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt and Antony, a member of the
triumvirate in Italy, are conducting a highly visible love affair. Whilst
Cleopatra is portrayed as a strong, manipulative and selfish woman, Antony
is shown to be weak and easily influenced when with Cleopatra, but powerful
and level-headed when running his country. However, it is hard to determine
whether Antony is the "strumpet's fool" he appears to be when he is with
Cleopatra, or the "triple pillar of the world" he should be.
After Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC, Antony joined Lepidus and
Octavius Caesar to make up the triumvirate - the three leaders of Italy.
Despite being criticised by many at the start of the play, he is also highly
praised for being a dedicated and hard working leader. In Act One Scene
One, Philo describes his heart as one "which in the scuffles of great fights
hath burst the buckles on his breast", showing that he loved fighting for
his country and was a proud and brave leader and warrior.
Philo also says
that Antony has a "great property" (Act One Scene One), meaning he has
admirable qualities. The fact that someone who can condemn him in this way
can also praise him highly shows just how respected and admired he was.
Also, despite the fact that Antony is in Egypt, Octavius still keeps him
informed of events in Rome by sending messengers, which shows that he does
not disregard Antony because he is so far away, he still wants him to be
part of the triumvirate. When with others, Antony is still bold and
decisive. He won't take any nonsense from people and makes sure he knows