The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra
How we cite our quotes:
Those his goodly eyes,
That o'er the files and musters of the war
Have glow'd like plated Mars, now bend, now turn,
The office and devotion of their view
Upon a tawny front. His captain's heart,
Which in the scuffles of great fights hath burst
The buckles on his breast, reneges all temper,
And is become the bellows and the fan
To cool a gipsy's lust.
(Flourish. Enter ANTONY, CLEOPATRA, her LADIES, the train,
with eunuchs fanning her.)
Look where they come!
Take but good note, and you shall see in him
The triple pillar of the world transform'd
Into a strumpet's fool. (1.1.2)
Antony’s men marvel at the change that’s come over him, how his temper rages and cools to suit Cleopatra’s needs. They claim love has made him a fool, but what of the idea that his life has been transformed and given new meaning by this new love? He no longer has to dwell on Roman power, but instead can stop repressing his human feelings.
Sir, sometimes, when he is not Antony,
He comes too short of that great property
Which still should go with Antony. (1.1.57)
Antony in Egypt is not himself, at least not the Roman Antony. He doesn’t live up to his Roman reputation or name, and has instead transformed into some other person the Romans would not recognize.
Forbear me. Exit MESSENGER
There's a great spirit gone! Thus did I desire it.
What our contempts doth often hurl from us
We wish it ours again; the present pleasure,
By revolution low'ring, does become
The opposite of itself. She's good, being gone;
The hand could pluck her back that shov'd her on.
I must from this enchanting queen break off.
Ten thousand harms, more than the ills I know,
My idleness doth hatch. (1.2.123)
Antony often has wished Fulvia dead, but getting what he wants transforms his wishes. He then changes his mind about needing to stay with Cleopatra for love. Instead, he wants to leave her, and thus changes his priorities. Duty replaces love as his highest priority (at least for now).