Portraying Antony From Plutarch's Life Of Antony

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The extract from Plutarch’s Life of Antony concentrates on Cleopatra’s seduction of Antony. It presents Cleopatra and her retinue as manipulative, bending Antony to their will, “[Cleopatra’s] flatterers also worked hard upon Antony at this time. They told him that he must be an insensitive brute with a heart of stone, for here was a mistress who was utterly devoted to him alone”. Plutarch: Makers of Rome also references Cleopatra’s wiles, ‘Plato speaks of four kinds of flattery. but [sic] Cleopatra knew a thousand’ (Scott-Kilvert, 1965, p. 296).

Plutarch opines that Cleopatra’s ignominy of being Antony’s concubine is tolerable, “[If she] could see him and spend her life with him…. if he drove her away it would be the death of her”. Consequently, ‘melted and unmanned’ Antony returns to Alexandria fearing Cleopatra’s suicide. In doing so, Antony neglects his military duties at Parthia, ‘[With] Cleopatra’s alarms, and arts upon the occasion. He puts off his Median expedition’ (Langhorne et al., 1810, P. 58). Portraying Cleopatra as a femme fatale, Plutarch sees Antony reduced from heroic warrior to a weak-willed, giddy adolescent dishonouring Rome. In contrast, Cassius Dio authors a speech ascribed to Octavian (the future emperor Augustus) before the battle of Actium. Focusing on Cleopatra’s threat to Rome, Dio elevates Rome to a higher moral plane, “we find ourselves spurned and trampled upon by a woman of Egypt…. They worship reptiles and beasts as gods…. Worst of all,

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