The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra Duty Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the Riverside edition.
There's my hand.
A sister I bequeath you whom no brother
Did ever love so dearly. Let her live
To join our kingdoms and our hearts; and never
Fly off our loves again. (2.2.179-183)
Caesar pledges he and Antony will be joined by Octavia, as he loves her dearly. Yet no sooner than Antony leaves for Athens do we hear that Caesar has already moved to betray Antony. Octavia’s own brother should be more tied to his declared bond of love for her than to immediately start a war with her new husband.
When I did make thee free, swor'st thou not then
To do this when I bade thee? Do it at once,
Or thy precedent services are all
But accidents unpurposed. Draw, and come.
Turn from me then that noble countenance,
Wherein the worship of the whole world lies.
Lo thee! [He turns away.]
My sword is drawn.
Then let it do at once
The thing why thou hast drawn it.
My dear master,
My captain and my emperor, let me say,
Before I strike this bloody stroke, farewell.
'Tis said, man, and farewell.
Farewell, great chief. Shall I strike now?
Why, there then.
Thus do I escape the sorrow
Of Antony's death. [Dies] (4.14.96-114)
Eros owes Antony a duty, but his friendship inspires him even more than that pledge. Eros agrees with Antony that he’d rather not see Antony bow before Caesar, but rather than kill Antony to avoid the scene, Eros takes his own life. It’s an incredibly noble sentiment, and one of the play’s only acts of utterly willing self-sacrifice. The question is whether this is an act of pure friendship or pure duty.