The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra
How we cite our quotes:
The valiant Caesar!
By Isis, I will give thee bloody teeth
If thou with Caesar paragon again
My man of men.
By your most gracious pardon,
I sing but after you.
My salad days,
When I was green in judgment, cold in blood,
To say as I said then. (1.5.69)
Cleopatra and Charmian compare Cleopatra’s love for Antony with her love for Julius Caesar. Charmian points out that she once cried over Julius Caesar as she does now over Antony. Cleopatra counters that the former love affair was just the bad judgment of youth.
Say not so, Agrippa.
If Cleopatra heard you, your reproof
Were well deserv'd of rashness.
I am not married, Caesar. Let me hear
Agrippa further speak. (2.2.121)
When Agrippa suggests Antony could marry Octavia, Caesar is the one to point out that Antony’s love is supposed to be devoted to Cleopatra (though he is a little mocking in this observation). Instead of defending his loyalty to Cleopatra, Antony emotionally abandons her, and points out that whatever else he engages in with Cleopatra, he’s not married to her. It seems he betrays their love, as he’s more loyal to Rome and to his own political advantage than he is to Cleopatra and their love.
I think so too. But you shall find the band that seems
to tie their friendship together will be the very strangler of
their amity: Octavia is of a holy, cold, and still conversation.
Who would not have his wife so?
Not he that himself is not so; which is Mark Antony. He
will to his Egyptian dish again; then shall the sighs of Octavia
blow the fire up in Caesar, and, as I said before, that which is
the strength of their amity shall prove the immediate author of
their variance. Antony will use his affection where it is; he
married but his occasion here. (2.6.120)
Enobarbus and Menas confer on Antony’s marriage to Octavia, noting that it will not add to the loyalty between Caesar and Antony, but only push them into further hatred because Antony is bound to leave Octavia for Cleopatra. Additionally, Octavia’s disposition doesn’t suit Antony; he will be loyal to Cleopatra because they share the passion that Octavia lacks. Loyalty has to be founded in something, and for Antony and Cleopatra, it’s based on their mutual passion.