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The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra

The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra

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The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra Duty Quotes

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Quote #1

CAESAR There is 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! (2.2.151)


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.

Quote #2

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 unpurpos'd. Draw, and come. EROS Turn from me then that noble countenance, Wherein the worship of the whole world lies. ANTONY Lo thee![Turning from him] EROS My sword is drawn. ANTONY Then let it do at once The thing why thou hast drawn it. EROS My dear master, My captain and my emperor, let me say, Before I strike this bloody stroke, farewell. ANTONY 'Tis said, man; and farewell. EROS Farewell, great chief. Shall I strike now? ANTONY Now, Eros. EROS Why, there then! Thus do I escape the sorrow Of Antony's death.[Kills himself] (4.14.82)


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.

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