What is the importance of the contrasts between Octavius Caesar and Antony in Antony and Cleopatra?

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Originally, Antony and Octavius Caesar were sharing power, with Lepidus.  When Lepidus was expelled for supposedly being disloyal, that left Antony and Caesar.  Caesar was cunning, farsighted, and manipulative.  Antony was passionate and open to manipulation.  Because of Antony’s personality, Caesar was able to defeat him.

In matters of the flesh, Antony exercised poor judgement.  His portion of the Roman holdings included Egypt, and he fell under Cleopatra’s spell.  This was difficult, because he was already married.  Then, at Caesar’s behest, he married again—to Caesar’s sister.  Both marriages caused trouble for Antony. His first wife (in the course of the play), Fulvia, tried to act against Caesar.  His second wife was Caesar’s sister, so by betraying her he was betraying Caesar.  This was not a good move.

In a conversation between Antony’s man Enobarbus and Caesar’s man Maecenas, Shakespeare addresses the problems Antony’s relationship with Cleopatra is...

(The entire section contains 516 words.)

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