The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra
Gender Quotes Page 2
How we cite our quotes:
By Hercules, I think I am i' th' right.
CANIDIUS. Soldier, thou art; but his whole action grows
Not in the power on't. So our leader's led,
And we are women's men. (3.7.67)
One of Antony’s soldiers confers with Canidius about the fact that fighting at sea is foolish, because they are weaker there. Canidius regrets that Antony’s actions don’t stem from the source of his own power, but the power of the woman that leads him. To be led by another’s power is a weakness. Further, as they are led by a woman’s power (which was thought of as weaker than a man’s) they are weaker than they would be if Antony was exercising his own power.
Fare thee well, dame, whate'er becomes of me.
This is a soldier's kiss. Rebukeable,
And worthy shameful check it were, to stand
On more mechanic compliment; I'll leave thee
Now like a man of steel. (4.4.29)
Antony doesn’t dote, but leaves Cleopatra in an austere and honorable fashion, as a gallant man going to face his fate, armed with his confidence, not pride. The call of the battle has reaffirmed his manhood that had previously been called into question.