Antony and Cleopatra text
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Antony has many wonderful traits. He is quick to anger, but quicker to forgive. He swings between reckless, unpardonable irresponsibility and winning magnanimity. He abandons his men at Actium, allowing men who are dying for him to die for no cause. But in Alexandria, he thinks of his attendants, giving away his wealth and promising to see to their safe escape. His changes are no less dramatic when it comes to Cleopatra. One moment he blames her for his defeat. In the next he forgives her, as soon as she shows contrition: "Fall not a tear, I say; one of them rates / All that is won and lost. Give me a kiss; / Even this repays me" (3.12.69-71). Bold statements, stunning because they are so rapidly removed from what he said only a few lines previous. But this Antony is perhaps the truer one; he is not built for empire-building, as Octavius is. Power, to him, is a means to pleasure, rather than an end in itself.