Last Updated on August 23, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 596
For I can ne'er be conquered but by love,
And you do all for duty (Act 3).
Mark Antony is a complex character torn between his love for Cleopatra and his duties as a Roman general. He is a celebrated military leader known for his bravery and strategic prowess, but his infatuation with Cleopatra leads him to neglect his responsibilities in Rome.
Antony's passionate and impulsive nature makes him vulnerable to the emotional sway of Cleopatra, ultimately contributing to his downfall. Throughout the play, Antony struggles to reconcile his desire for love and pleasure with his sense of honor and duty, making him a tragic figure torn between conflicting worlds.
Thou best of thieves: who, with an easy key,
Dost open life, and, unperceived by us,
Even steal us from ourselves (Act 5).
Cleopatra is the Queen of Egypt, a woman of beauty, charm, and intelligence. Her seductive allure captivates Antony, drawing him into a tumultuous love affair. Cleopatra's emotional vulnerability contrasts with her shrewd political skills as a ruler, creating a multifaceted character.
Cleopatra is fiercely devoted to Antony and is willing to risk everything for their love, even if it means jeopardizing her kingdom and her own life. Cleopatra's passionate and tempestuous nature drives much of the play's drama, making her a compelling and iconic literary figure.
Can any Roman see and know him now,
Thus altered from the lord of half mankind,
Unbent, unsinewed, made a woman's toy,
Shrunk from the vast extent of all his honours,
And cramped within a corner of the world? (Act 1).
Ventidius is a Roman general and a loyal friend to Antony. He is a stoic and honorable character, providing steadfast support and counsel to Antony during his moments of doubt and internal conflict. Ventidius is a pragmatic and wise figure, trying to balance Antony's desires with his political responsibilities. His dedication to his friend and commitment to honor and duty make him a trustworthy and admirable character in the play.
Does this weak passion
Become a mighty queen? (Act 2)
Alexas serves as Cleopatra's eunuch and confidant, and he is a cunning and manipulative character. He is deeply loyal to Cleopatra and always works to further her interests, even if it means resorting to deception and subterfuge. Alexas is clever and resourceful, playing a significant role in shaping the events of the play behind the scenes.
Portents and prodigies have grown so frequent,
That they have lost their name (Act 1).
Serapion is a priest of Isis, and his role is primarily to provide important information and spiritual insights into the unfolding events. He represents the religious and spiritual aspects of the story, often offering perspective on the consequences of the characters' actions.
You o'erjoy me, madam,
To find your griefs so moderately borne.
You have heard the worst; all are not false like him (Act 4).
Dolabella is a young Roman man who serves as a messenger and intermediary between the characters. He plays a significant role in the relationships between Antony, Cleopatra, and Octavia. Dolabella's youthful naivety and sense of honor contribute to the complexities of the romantic entanglements in the play.
Your bonds are easy: you have long been practised
In that lascivious art: He's not the first
For whom you spread your snares: Let Caesar witness (Act 3).
Octavia is the sister of Octavius Caesar and the wife of Antony. She is a diplomatic figure, attempting to reconcile Antony and Octavius, but is caught in the middle of their political struggles. Octavia's character highlights the political and strategic nature of marriages among powerful figures.