How is the theme of love expressed in All for Love?

In All for Love, John Dryden expresses the theme of love by demonstrating what love is not. There is actually little true love expressed in the play. Antony and Cleopatra seem more focused on themselves and their lust than on each other, and their love is illicit and deceptive because Antony is married. Antony's wife, Octavia, gives up on her husband and returns to Rome.

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In his play All for Love, John Dryden reflects on the theme of love as the play's characters feel and express love in various ways. Let's examine a few of these "loves."

Antony claims to love Cleopatra. In fact, he has abandoned his wife, Octavia, and their children to live with Cleopatra in Egypt. He clearly does not love his family all that much, but we wonder if he truly loves Cleopatra either or if their relationship is more about lust than love. When Octavia's brother, Octavius Caesar, threatens to attack Alexandria because of Antony's disloyalty, Antony starts to mope and distances himself from Cleopatra. His "love" quickly falls away when he becomes distracted from his lust.

Antony further reveals his lack of love for Cleopatra when Ventidius tempts Antony to take ten thousand soldiers and fight Octavius. There's a catch, though. Antony will only get those soldiers if he leaves Cleopatra. Antony decides the offer is too good to pass up.

For her part, Cleopatra seems to have a better...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 1258 words.)

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