Friday, July 02, 2010
The Legend of the love story between Marc Antony and Cleopatra was immortalized by William Shakespeare. It has endured and fascinates to this day.
In Rome, Agrippa pushes for Antony to marry Octavius Caesar's sister, Octavia, in order to cement the bond between the two men. Reluctantly Atony weds Octavia but Antony's lieutenant knows that Octavia can never satisfy him after Cleopatra.
Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
Her infinite variety: other women cloy
The appetites they feed, but she makes hungry
A soothsayer warns Antony that he is sure to lose if he fights Octavius.
Antony prepares to battle Octavius, and although warned not to battle at sea, Antony refuses. Cleopatra pledges her fleet to aid Antony, however, during the battle, Cleopatra flees with her sixty ships, and Antony follows her, leaving his army to ruin. Ashamed of what he has done for the love of Cleopatra, Antony reproaches her for making him a coward, but also sets this love above all else, saying "Give me a kiss; even this repays me."
Octavius sends a messenger to ask Cleopatra asking her to give up Antony and come over to his side. While Cleopatra flirts with the messenger, Antony discovers them. He orders the messenger to be seized and whippped. The lover's spat cools and later, he forgives Cleopatra and pledges to fight another battle for her, this time on land.
Antony is winning the battle until Octavius shifts it to a sea-fight. Once again, Cleopatra's ships desert him. He is forced to surrender and publically denounces Cleopatra who has betrayed him once again. He is determined to kill her.
But Cleopatra wants to win back Antony's love, so she sends him word that she has killed herself, dying with his name on her lips. She locks herself in her monument, and waits for Antony to come to her.
She dies thinking of Antony who she hopes to meet in the afterlife. Her serving maids also kill themselves. When Octavius discovers the dead women, he experiences great emotion. Antony's and Cleopatra's deaths cleared the path for him to become the first Roman Emperor. He ordered a public military funeral for them both and buried them together.