All For Love

Ventidius Character Analysis

Ventidius is a general in the Roman army and one of Antony’s oldest and closest friends. He is fiercely proud, honorable, and eager to fight in war rather than remain in the palace. He is depicted as Antony’s “other half” in the Platonic sense—which is to say, the classical ideal of friendship in the writings of Plato, in which friends are imagined as sharing the same soul. And indeed, in some ways, Ventidius does know Antony very well, having experienced many battles with him. But he also proves that he doesn’t understand Antony in some fundamental ways. For instance, he is harshly critical of his love affair with Cleopatra, calling Antony her “slave” and a ruined man who has lost everything for “this toy,” as he refers to Cleopatra. He thinks Cleopatra is a dangerous seductress and constantly works with her enemies (including Antony’s abandoned wife Octavia) to try to turn Antony against her. In his hatred of Cleopatra, he misses the fact that she is not wholly responsible for the changes in Antony’s fortunes—he made those choices himself. He also fails to understand the depth of the love Antony has for Cleopatra, such that Antony would prefer to die with her rather than make peace with Octavius. He only comes to realize this at the end of the play, when Antony asks him to help him commit suicide. Ventidius stabs himself instead, demonstrating his own love and loyalty to Antony. Although Ventidius is a flawed reader of people, then, he is unmistakably a constant friend to Antony.

Ventidius Quotes in All For Love

The All For Love quotes below are all either spoken by Ventidius or refer to Ventidius. 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.
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 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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Ventidius Character Timeline in All For Love

The timeline below shows where the character Ventidius appears in All For Love. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Preface
Authority vs. Freedom Theme Icon
...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)
Act 1
Passion vs. Reason Theme Icon
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,... (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 holiday at this dire moment. Alexas protests that Cleopatra... (full context)
Continuity and Change Theme Icon
Antony comes out of his room and demands that everyone leave him alone. Ventidius hides in a corner to listen to his master speak. Pacing with a “disturbed motion,”... (full context)
Honor vs. Love Theme Icon
Passion vs. Reason Theme Icon
Moved by Ventidius’s tears, Antony begins to share his grief at his loss at the Battle of Actium.... (full context)
Honor vs. Love Theme Icon
Ventidius tries to rouse Antony’s spirits by telling him that there is still hope that they... (full context)
Honor vs. Love Theme Icon
Antony angrily calls Ventidius a traitor and threatens to kill him, but quickly apologizes. Ventidius says he would not... (full context)
Act 2
Honor vs. Love Theme Icon
Antony enters with Ventidius. He reports that he challenged Octavius to hand-to-hand contact, but Octavius refused. Antony complains that... (full context)
Passion vs. Reason Theme Icon
Cleopatra also sends Antony a bracelet made of rubies in the shape of bleeding hearts. Ventidius warns him not to take it, but Antony says that he doesn’t think it can... (full context)
Honor vs. Love Theme Icon
Passion vs. Reason Theme Icon
...fled from the battle out of fear, not because she was trying to betray him. Ventidius warns Antony not to believe her words. Cleopatra then shows them a piece of paper—an... (full context)
Honor vs. Love Theme Icon
...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, and fame.” He asks... (full context)
Act 3
Passion vs. Reason Theme Icon
...her, saying that he doesn’t care if the gods see them and envy their happiness. Ventidius stands aside, watching, and Antony admits that his presence makes him feel ashamed. Antony boasts... (full context)
Continuity and Change Theme Icon
Ventidius asks whether Antony has a friend on Octavius’s side who might be able to advocate... (full context)
Passion vs. Reason Theme Icon
Octavia, Antony’s abandoned wife and Octavius’s sister, enters with Antony’s two small daughters. (Ventidius has smuggled them in past the Egyptian guards.) With a dignified air, she tells Antony... (full context)
Honor vs. Love Theme Icon
...saying that he can never love her but also doesn’t want to treat her dishonorably. Ventidius and Dollabella urge Antony to abandon Cleopatra and take back Octavia, pointing out that “you... (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 her. Dollabella begs Antony not to make him do this,... (full context)
Honor vs. Love Theme Icon
...to win Cleopatra from Antony, since he is still in love with her. Overhearing this, Ventidius gleefully hopes this will lead to her ruin, since he hates Cleopatra. (full context)
Continuity and Change Theme Icon
Ventidius and Octavia spy on Dollabella and Cleopatra. They misinterpret the gesture of Dollabella taking Cleopatra’s... (full context)
Honor vs. Love Theme Icon
Passion vs. Reason Theme Icon
Ventidius asks Alexas to confirm the report of Cleopatra’s unchastity, calling him a pimp and accusing... (full context)
Honor vs. Love Theme Icon
...at the loss of an “abandoned, faithless prostitute,” suggesting that he still loves Cleopatra more. Ventidius begs her to retire, but the enraged Octavia tells Antony that she will leave him... (full context)
Passion vs. Reason Theme Icon
...he loves her “no more than friendship will allow.” Antony counters that Octavia, Alexas, and Ventidius all saw them together and have confirmed that they were flirting. Cleopatra admits that she... (full context)
Act 5
Honor vs. Love Theme Icon
Continuity and Change Theme Icon
...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 asks if there... (full context)
Honor vs. Love Theme Icon
Passion vs. Reason Theme Icon
Alexas enters, and Ventidius draws his sword and threatens to kill him. Antony once again accuses Cleopatra of betraying... (full context)
Continuity and Change Theme Icon
Ventidius rejoices at Cleopatra’s death, only expressing regret that she hadn’t died earlier (since then Antony... (full context)
Honor vs. Love Theme Icon
Continuity and Change Theme Icon
Ventidius tries to raise Antony’s spirits, reminding him that they had promised to die in battle... (full context)
Authority vs. Freedom Theme Icon
...give up his power struggle with Octavius and let the world “know whom to obey.” Ventidius accepts Antony’s desire to die and expresses his wish to go with him, since his... (full context)
Honor vs. Love Theme Icon
Ventidius refuses again to outlive Antony. As a final request, Antony then asks that Ventidius at... (full context)
Continuity and Change Theme Icon
Antony then falls on his sword, hoping to join Ventidius and Cleopatra. However, he misses his heart and begins bleeding out on the floor. He... (full context)