Sunday, 25 November 2012

Antony and Cleopatra, Act III: Love is Indeed Blind

If he were Caesar, and Caesar Antony, we would be compelled to rewrite every article of history since the death of Julius Caesar.

The Battle of Actium by Lorenzo A. Castro
Just a thought. The third act of Antony and Cleopatra has been emotional for me. It might be my bias for Antony, but I do admire some of his grand qualities. I have written about one of it in the review of the first act. Now let me continue to the second.

When he hears that Octavius wages war against Pompey, Antony becomes furious. Firstly, he starts to feel than Octavius doesn't count him as Roman co-ruler in the triumvirate. Secondly, he doesn't think that the war against Pompey is fair.

“Nay, nay, Octavia, not only that—
That were excusable, that and thousands more
Of semblable import—but he hath waged
New wars ’gainst Pompey; made his will, and read it
To public ear;
Spoke scantly of me; when perforce he could not
But pay me terms of honor, cold and sickly
He vented them, most narrow measure lent me.
When the best hint was given him, he not took ’t,
Or did it from his teeth.”

Given the fact that Pompey helped Antony in the past, thus making a link between the two, the murder of Pompey is utterly unacceptable from Antony's point of view. It enrages him to know that one of his subordinates killed Pompey.

“He’s walking in the garden — thus; and spurns
The rush that lies before him; cries, ‘Fool Lepidus!’
And threats the throat of that his officer
That murder’d Pompey.”

Another thing that I still like of him is kindness towards those who fight with him. Knowing that there is no longer hope to win, he offers his ship and the treasures in it to his soldiers, and also advices them to move to Octavius' side.

“Friends, come hither:
I am so lated in the world, that I
Have lost my way for ever: I have a ship
Laden with gold; take that, divide it; fly,
And make your peace with Caesar.”

The more I know Antony, the more I like him. And yet to me he is the same and both different man from what he is in Julius Caesar. His love to Cleopatra is almost mounting up to madness. He cannot think clearly, and also refuses to listen to Enobarbus' sound advice, that is to fight Octavius on land.

All these things cannot be good. I'd happily finish the play soon and make an elaborate review about it.

PS: The analysis done in this article is based solely on Shakespeare's work, regardless of its historical accuracy.

1 comment:

  1. Antony treated his soldiers more as friends or even sons. He was a great general, greater than Octavius. Just like Brutus, he wasn't a good politician and obviously not as ambitious as Octavius