All For Love

Antony Character Analysis

At the time of the events of All For Love, Antony is a renowned Roman general and political leader. Described as “emperor of half the world,” he rules Rome with two other politicians, including Octavius. For all his power and prestige, however, he has a fatal weakness: his love for the Egyptian queen Cleopatra. Since first meeting Cleopatra ten years earlier, he has been living in Egypt as her lover and unofficial consort. This choice has involved many sacrifices: he abandoned his first wife Fulvia and his second wife Octavia, Octavius’s sister, along with their children. It has also led to disastrous political consequences. Enraged at the insult to his sister, Octavius has brought an army to attack Antony and Cleopatra in Egypt. By the end of play, Antony has lost everything: his army, his power, and his throne. He is a tragic figure, described as a noble, honorable man undone by his fatal romantic passion. His friend Ventidius observes that Antony is naturally given to “virtue,” but that he sometimes “bounds into a vice” (i.e. his love for Cleopatra) that draws him off course. For Dryden, Antony’s mixed temperament—neither a model of “perfect virtue” nor “altogether wicked”—makes him a sympathetic figure. He is not flawless, but neither is he villainous. He is also a romantic hero because he allows himself to be ruled by his passions. Although Antony highly values his honor and reputation, he ultimately chooses his love for Cleopatra above all other considerations, deciding to die with her in Egypt—and thus giving up rule of half of the world for love.

Antony Quotes in All For Love

The All For Love quotes below are all either spoken by Antony or refer to Antony. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Honor vs. Love Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Bloomsbury edition of All For Love published in 2004.
Preface Quotes

[T]he crimes of love which they both committed were not occasioned by any necessity or fatal ignorance, but were wholly voluntary, since our passions are, or ought to be, within our power.

Related Characters: Antony, Cleopatra
Page Number: 32
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 1 Quotes

Can any Roman see and know him now,

Thus altered from the lord of half mankind,
Unbent, unsinewed, made a woman’s toy,
Shrunk from the vast extent of all his honours,
And cramped within a corner of the world?

Related Characters: Ventidius (speaker), Antony, Cleopatra
Related Symbols: Cleopatra’s Ruby Bracelet
Page Number: 52
Explanation and Analysis:
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But I have lost my reason, have disgraced
The name of soldier with inglorious ease[.]

Related Characters: Antony (speaker), Cleopatra, Ventidius, Octavius
Page Number: 58
Explanation and Analysis:
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And I will leave her; though, Heaven knows, I love
Beyond life, conquest, empire, all but honour;

But I will leave her.

Related Characters: Antony (speaker), Cleopatra, Ventidius
Page Number: 58
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 2 Quotes

Moderate sorrow
Fits vulgar love, and for a vulgar man;
But I have loved with such transcendent passion,
I soared at first quite out of reason’s view.

Related Characters: Cleopatra (speaker), Antony
Page Number: 64
Explanation and Analysis:
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[W]e have loved each other
Into our mutual ruin.

Related Characters: Antony (speaker), Cleopatra, Octavius
Page Number: 73
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 3 Quotes

But yet the loss was private that I made;
’Twas but myself I lost: I lost no legions;
I had no world to lose, no people’s love.

Related Characters: Dollabella (speaker), Antony, Cleopatra
Page Number: 89
Explanation and Analysis:
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For I can ne’er be conquered but by love,
And you do all for duty.

Related Characters: Antony (speaker), Cleopatra, Octavia
Page Number: 93
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 4 Quotes

Nature meant me
A wife, a silly, harmless, household dove,
Fond without art, and kind without deceit;
But Fortune, that has made a mistress of me,
Has thrust me out to the wide world.

Related Characters: Cleopatra (speaker), Antony, Octavia
Page Number: 102-103
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 5 Quotes

My Queen is dead.
I was but great for her; my power, my empire
Were but my merchandise to buy her love,
And conquered kings, my factors.

Related Characters: Antony (speaker), Cleopatra, Ventidius
Page Number: 131
Explanation and Analysis:
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’Tis time the world
Should have a lord, and know whom to obey.

Related Characters: Antony (speaker), Octavius
Page Number: 131
Explanation and Analysis:
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Ten years’ love,
And not a moment lost, but all improved
To th’utmost joys: what ages have we lived!
And now to die each other’s; and so dying,
While hand in hand we walk in groves below,
Whole troops of lovers’ ghosts shall flock about us,
And all the train be ours.

Related Characters: Antony (speaker), Cleopatra
Page Number: 135
Explanation and Analysis:
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Let dull Octavia
Survive to mourn him dead; my nobler fate
Shall knit our spousals with a tie too strong

For Roman laws to break.

Related Characters: Cleopatra (speaker), Antony, Octavia
Page Number: 136
Explanation and Analysis:
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Antony Character Timeline in All For Love

The timeline below shows where the character Antony appears in All For Love. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Preface
Passion vs. Reason Theme Icon
...begins by acknowledging that many people before him—including William Shakespeare—have re-told the famous story of Antony and Cleopatra. He decided to write his own version, he explains, because he thinks the... (full context)
Authority vs. Freedom Theme Icon
...and within twenty-four hours. As a result, he has used artistic license in making Octavia, Antony’s Roman wife, come to Egypt and (unhistorically) meet Cleopatra. He defends himself for creating this... (full context)
Authority vs. Freedom Theme Icon
...own way by, for example, abandoning rhyme. Dryden ends by noting that the scene between Antony and Ventidius is his favorite that he has written. (full context)
Prologue
Continuity and Change Theme Icon
Authority vs. Freedom Theme Icon
...since he has abandoned Shakespeare’s rhyming scheme in his verse. He introduces the principal characters: Antony, a decent but “somewhat lewd” man, his wife Octavia, and his mistress Cleopatra. (full context)
Act 1
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...can’t bear for these stories to be true, given the current desperate state of affairs: Antony and Cleopatra have lost the Battle of Actium, and the palace is surrounded by a... (full context)
Honor vs. Love Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Antony has locked himself in the temple and refuses to see Cleopatra, hoping to cure himself... (full context)
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Just then, Alexas, Serapion, and Myris witness the approach of Ventidius, one of Antony’s top lieutenants. Alexas assures them that Ventidius is an impeccably honorable man, although he has... (full context)
Honor vs. Love Theme Icon
Continuity and Change Theme Icon
Alexas proclaims a birthday celebration for Antony, and the servants begin to prepare a feast. Ventidius protests at the Egyptians taking a... (full context)
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Antony comes out of his room and demands that everyone leave him alone. Ventidius hides in... (full context)
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Moved by Ventidius’s tears, Antony begins to share his grief at his loss at the Battle of Actium. Ventidius points... (full context)
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Ventidius tries to rouse Antony’s spirits by telling him that there is still hope that they can win against Octavius,... (full context)
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Antony angrily calls Ventidius a traitor and threatens to kill him, but quickly apologizes. Ventidius says... (full context)
Act 2
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Cleopatra is in despair at the news that Antony is leaving her. Alexas counsels her to calm down, but Cleopatra says that only low-born... (full context)
Honor vs. Love Theme Icon
Antony enters with Ventidius. He reports that he challenged Octavius to hand-to-hand contact, but Octavius refused.... (full context)
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Cleopatra also sends Antony a bracelet made of rubies in the shape of bleeding hearts. Ventidius warns him not... (full context)
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Cleopatra enters with her maids. Antony tells her that they have “loved each other / Into our mutual ruin.” Antony blames... (full context)
Honor vs. Love Theme Icon
Passion vs. Reason Theme Icon
Cleopatra acknowledges that he is right to reproach her, but sorrowfully says that Antony must no longer love her, if he would say these things. She admits that she... (full context)
Honor vs. Love Theme Icon
Cleopatra swoons and protests pathetically that she only wants to die. At this, Antony embraces her, although Ventidius warns him not to weight this “toy” against his “honour, fortune,... (full context)
Act 3
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Cleopatra’s court performs an elaborate dance. Cleopatra crowns Antony and Antony reaffirms his love for her, saying that he doesn’t care if the gods... (full context)
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Ventidius asks whether Antony has a friend on Octavius’s side who might be able to advocate for him. Antony... (full context)
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Continuity and Change Theme Icon
Dollabella and Antony have an emotional reunion. Antony laments him that he is now “other than I am,”... (full context)
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Octavia, Antony’s abandoned wife and Octavius’s sister, enters with Antony’s two small daughters. (Ventidius has smuggled them... (full context)
Honor vs. Love Theme Icon
Octavia tells Antony to take Octavius’s terms and drop her off in Athens. He is moved by her... (full context)
Passion vs. Reason Theme Icon
...love and sex himself. Cleopatra enters and weeps at the news that Octavia has stolen Antony back. Alexas assures her that she is more beautiful than Octavia. She gives him a... (full context)
Authority vs. Freedom Theme Icon
...with Caesar in order to insult her, and haughtily tells her that she has taken Antony back and restored him to his true nature as a Roman. Cleopatra retorts that Antony... (full context)
Honor vs. Love Theme Icon
...two women begin competing to see who has suffered the most in their relationships with Antony. Octavia accuses Cleopatra of stealing Antony’s wife, children, reputation, power, and political standing. Cleopatra says... (full context)
Act 4
Continuity and Change Theme Icon
Passion vs. Reason Theme Icon
Antony orders Dollabella to inform Cleopatra of his departure, since Ventidius would be too harsh with... (full context)
Honor vs. Love Theme Icon
After Antony leaves, Dollabella observes that men like Antony have appetites that are as changeable as that... (full context)
Honor vs. Love Theme Icon
Authority vs. Freedom Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Alexas urges Cleopatra to use Dollabella’s feelings for her to make Antony jealous. Cleopatra protests at the idea of this disloyalty. She laments that her natural inclination... (full context)
Passion vs. Reason Theme Icon
...beautiful than all the women in Rome. Cleopatra calls him a flatterer, like his master Antony. Dollabella delivers the heavy news: Antony is leaving, and she will soon lose her kingdom.... (full context)
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Cleopatra asks whether Antony sent this news regretfully. Dollabella lies and says that Antony spoke harshly of her, calling... (full context)
Continuity and Change Theme Icon
...Cleopatra. They misinterpret the gesture of Dollabella taking Cleopatra’s hand, assuming that Cleopatra has abandoned Antony. Dollabella and Cleopatra leave. When Antony enters, he asks how Cleopatra took the news of... (full context)
Honor vs. Love Theme Icon
Passion vs. Reason Theme Icon
...lover in her bed. Alexas vigorously defends his queen, pointing out that she loves only Antony—and that she turned down the offers of “lawful love” [i.e. marriage] from many kings, just... (full context)
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Octavia complains that Antony should show so much distress at the loss of an “abandoned, faithless prostitute,” suggesting that... (full context)
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Antony laments aloud that his “plain, honest heart” forces him to share his feelings openly to... (full context)
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When Cleopatra enters, Antony shouts at her and Dollabella, accusing them of betraying him. He demands that Dollabella tell... (full context)
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Antony points out that Cleopatra and Dollabella’s only witnesses to prove that they’re telling the truth... (full context)
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Antony refuses to believe it. Cleopatra begs for one more look from him, protesting that he... (full context)
Act 5
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Cleopatra is in despair at Antony’s abandonment. She tries to kill herself with a dagger, but Iras and Charmion prevent her.... (full context)
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...banished, and thus the way is open for Cleopatra to make her way back into Antony’s heart. Meanwhile, the Egyptian ships are in the middle of a battle against Octavius’s fleet,... (full context)
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Antony is in a rage at the Egyptian fleet’s betrayal and is apparently raving at Cleopatra.... (full context)
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Left on his own, Alexas plots to find some way to save his life. Meanwhile, Antony enters with Ventidius. They rant against Cleopatra and the Egyptians who betrayed them, and Antony... (full context)
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Alexas enters, and Ventidius draws his sword and threatens to kill him. Antony once again accuses Cleopatra of betraying him to Octavius. Alexas tells him that Cleopatra is... (full context)
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Ventidius rejoices at Cleopatra’s death, only expressing regret that she hadn’t died earlier (since then Antony might have been able to make peace with Octavius.) Antony, by contrast, is devastated at... (full context)
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Ventidius tries to raise Antony’s spirits, reminding him that they had promised to die in battle together. However, Antony says... (full context)
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Now, Antony says, is the time to give up his power struggle with Octavius and let the... (full context)
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Ventidius refuses again to outlive Antony. As a final request, Antony then asks that Ventidius at least kill him first, since... (full context)
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Antony then falls on his sword, hoping to join Ventidius and Cleopatra. However, he misses his... (full context)
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Cleopatra begs the gods to keep Antony alive, but he tells her gently that this cannot be. Instead, he asks her one... (full context)
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Cleopatra proclaims that she will die with Antony as his wife, in a bond that no “Roman laws” will be able to break.... (full context)
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Alone with Antony’s corpse, Cleopatra kisses his lips, observing that they are now alone again, like lovers. Iras... (full context)
Passion vs. Reason Theme Icon
Authority vs. Freedom Theme Icon
...Iras and Charmion do the same. As she dies, Cleopatra professes her desire to meet Antony again, daring Octavius: “Now part us if thou canst.” (full context)
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Serapion observes how noble Antony and Cleopatra look, as if they ruled half the world. He is glad that the... (full context)
Epilogue
Passion vs. Reason Theme Icon
...might be interested in Octavius’s ambition, but women will enjoy the story of a man, Antony, who died “all for love.” Dryden grants that some old women might say that this... (full context)