I’m not sure if it is just me, but within any of Shakespeare’s romantic tragedies I get a bit annoyed/angry with the two lovers. In Antony and Cleopatra, Antony starts off the play by falling in love with Cleopatra. Now, this would be fine if Antony took one second to realize, “oh wait, I have a wife, I control one third of the Roman Empire, I’m betraying my fellow comrades and Romans, all for the satisfaction of claiming to be in love with an actress/prostitute name Cleopatra.” But, Antony does not really think things through now does he? In fact, feel Antony is thinking a bit too much with his other head. (haha?)
Like Romeo and Juliet, Antony and Cleopatra rush into things way too fast. Maybe it might be because we live in modern times, but doesn’t Cleopatra find it weird that Antony is still married and confessing his love to her? Granted she does get upset about the whole situation, until Antony feeds her with some political nonsense that somehow relates to the reason why he abandoned Rome and his wife for Egypt. All I know is once a cheater, always a cheater. He is not going to mourn your death, and he WILL easily get over you Cleopatra. Girl, check yo self.
But I digress.
What bothers me about the whole situation with Antony and Cleopatra is the fact that Antony is abandoning Rome and his wife for what he “thinks” is love. When Cleopatra asks Antony about his abandonment, he simply states;
“Let Rome in Tiber melt, and the wide arch Of the ranged empire fall. Here is my space. Kingdoms are clay. Our dungy earth alike. Feeds beast as man.”
And I thought George Bush was a crappy leader. Thank god Antony doesn’t rule one third of the U.S. with that statement.
There is something about Antony so freely abandoning his Empire for Alexandria and Cleopatra that makes me dislike his character right from the start. I’m all for love, but you have responsibilities Antony, and those are to your Empire and your wife. Which brings me to his wife’s death. A tear, a sniffle, or even a whimper would have been nice. Not only does Antony so freely get over his wife’s death in just a few pages, but his comrades Philo and Demitrius also pass judgment upon how little Antony cares for his homeland.
All-in-all the beginning acts of Antony and Cleopatra have me disrespecting the two main characters because of their obscured moral values, and Antony’s lack of loyalty to his country and late wife Fulvia. At the end of Act 1, Antony departs Egypt claiming the distance will not affect his love for Cleopatra. Yea…right. I guess we will see the truth behind all of this nonsense between these two “lovers” as the play goes on.