The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra
How we cite our quotes:
Let Rome in Tiber melt, and the wide arch
Of the rang'd empire fall! Here is my space.
Kingdoms are clay; our dungy earth alike
Feeds beast as man. The nobleness of life
Is to do thus [embracing], when such a mutual pair
And such a twain can do't, in which I bind,
On pain of punishment, the world to weet
We stand up peerless. (1.1.33)
Antony hasn’t forsaken his concern about power by taking up with Cleopatra – far from it, in fact. Instead, he’s found the center of his power is with her, and calls their union a representation of the nobleness of life. This can be interpreted as a transformation in his view of power – it isn’t the clay earth that makes Rome’s kingdom, but the power of love between two people.
Speak to me home; mince not the general tongue;
Name Cleopatra as she is call'd in Rome.
Rail thou in Fulvia's phrase, and taunt my faults
With such full licence as both truth and malice
Have power to utter. O, then we bring forth weeds
When our quick minds lie still, and our ills told us
Is as our earing. (1.2.107)
Antony is a man of power, and like any person, he doesn’t always judge himself accurately. As a man of power, though, he needs to hear the truth about himself in order to be a better ruler.
I know by that same eye there's some good news.
What says the married woman? You may go.
Would she had never given you leave to come!
Let her not say 'tis I that keep you here-
I have no power upon you; hers you are. (1.3.19)
Cleopatra admits, even half-heartedly, that Antony’s marriage to Fulvia gives that woman more power over him than Cleopatra’s love could ever command.