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Plutarchs View of Anthony & Cleopatra

  • Date Submitted: 11/30/2011 05:51 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 43.5 
  • Words: 332
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Plutarch also portrays this influence as a negative one “if any spark of goodness or hope of rising were left in him, Cleopatra quenched it straight and made it worse than before” (Miller & Browning, 2008, p. 91), often leading him astray and into situations not befitting his position “For Antony also would try to array himself like a servant.   Therefore, he always reaped a harvest of abuse, and often of blows, before coming back home; though most people suspected who he was” .   However, it is also clear that Antony was not bothered by this view of Cleopatra and sought both her approval and respect “He was fishing once, and had bad luck, and was vexed because Cleopatra was there to see” .   These examples could also be used to illustrate that Plutarch views Cleopatra and Antony’s relationship as one where her influence over Antony is controlling and manipulative “Imperator, hand over thy fishing rod to the fishermen of Pharos and Canopus; thy sport is the hunting of cities, realms, and continents” .   However, Plutarch also shows the relationship is as an equal one with shared pastimes, skills “She played at dice with him, drank with him, hunted with him, and watched him as he exercised himself in arms” , and sense of fun.

In context of the period Plutarch writes, it was unusual for women to be thought worthy of or to hold power.   However, throughout this passage, and the remainder of his work on Antony, Plutarch does show Cleopatra as a powerful woman.   It is interesting to me that he makes the distinction of Cleopatra as Egyptian “the Egyptian saw through the trick” , as it is well known that Cleopatra made efforts to change the perception of herself to be seen as more Roman during her relationship with Antony.

It is clear from Plutarch’s writings that regardless of his opinion, Antony and Cleopatra were very much infatuated with each other and their love could almost certainly be categorised as all consuming.


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