AA100 - What does the Passage Tell Us about Plutarchs View of the Relationship between Antony and Cleopatra?Outline what you Think are the Main Differences between Czannes Jug and Fruit (1885 87) and Zurbarns Still

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What does the Passage Tell Us about Plutarch’s View of the Relationship between Antony and Cleopatra?

This part of the essay looks at the passage (lines 1 – 23) cited in The Open University 2011 and will analyse the text to see how Plutarch interprets the relationship between Cleopatra and Antony.

When looking at the passage on Plutarch view of Cleopatra and her relationship with Antony, one could perceive that he is saying that Cleopatra is very obsessive and possessive over Antony. Plutarch says ‘that she kept him in constant tutelage, and released him neither night nor day’ (lines 2-3). According to Plutarch, she did absolutely everything with Antony, e.g. ‘hunted with him, watched him as he exercised and played at dice with him. He also states that she dresses in the garb of a serving maiden’ (lines 3 – 8).

Plutarch’s passage also gives the impression that Cleopatra uses Antony as a bit of a spectacle and makes fun of him and his abilities to fish. In the passage, Plutarch states that ‘she invited her friends to come and watch Antony’s fishing abilities. However, she asked one her attendants to swim down and attach a salted Pontic herring to his line. Once he pulled it up, everyone laughed at him’ (lines 10 – 23). This can be interpreted as if Cleopatra made an exhibition of Antony as he wasn’t any good at fishing, and made a mockery of him in front of her friends.

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Plutarch does not believe that there were genuine feelings between Antony and Cleopatra. He sees their romantic love and infatuation of one another as ‘being self – indulgent and having a lack of self control’ (Fear, 2008, p.11). Plutarch tends to portray Cleopatra as a ‘cunning manipulator who seduces and out – manoeuvres Antony’ (ibid). In a way this is true, and this can be linked to the situation caused around the fishing incident, as she out smarted him and knew that he had tricked her in the beginning by pretending to have caught two or three fish that had ...

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