"The Triple Pillar of the World Transformed into a Strumpet's Fool." Is this an accurate view of Antony?

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“The Triple Pillar of the World Transformed into a Strumpet’s Fool.”  Is this an accurate view of Antony?

Shakespeare’s chief source for Antony and Cleopatra was Plutarch’s Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romanes translated by Thomas North (1579). Plutarch largely portrayed Mark Antony as a vain and dissolute character, juxtaposed against the heroism and virtues of his compatriots. Shakespeare plays down these attributes for more dramatic effect, choosing to make Antony a more complex, three-dimensional, and ultimately flawed character.

Antony could be said to be the object of focus throughout the whole play, as his time on stage is spent always in the middle, and while his presence is absent, he is constantly the subject of conversation.  Through this we are able to make our own judgements of whether “Antony becomes his flow”, or whether we agree with Cleopatra’s description of him as a “Herculean Roman”.

        Cleopatra humiliates Antony in front of Demetrius, Philo, Charmian, Iris, eunuchs and Cleopatra’s ladies by scalding Antony with her harsh words:

        “Thou blushest, Antony, and that blood of thine is Caesar’s homager.”

The domestic arguing in the presence of those of lower status is somewhat embarrassing for a “Herculean Roman”, and transforms Antony into a “strumpet’s fool”.  In addition to this, Antony surrenders to Cleopatra:

        “Let Rome in Tiber melt and the wide arch of the ranged empire fall!”

Antony is defeated by Cleopatra, which demonstrates him as weak, and clearly expresses no intentions of returning to his duty, and therefore encourages the audience to see him as a “strumpet’s fool”.  

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        As Antony is a frequent source of conversation, different character’s opinions of him become apparent and are influential to the audience.  For example, Scarus refers to him as a “Noble ruin” that “claps on his sea wing, and like a doting mallard, leaving the fight in height, flies after her”, which suggests Antony considers his sexual engagements to be priority over his role of a “world” ruler.  Scarus is a follower of Antony’s, meaning that he is likely to make such remarks out of concern or pure observation, rather than out of disapproval, therefore increases the probability that it ...

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