At first glance, Shakespeare may appear to take on a moralizing or didactic tone throughout Antony and Cleopatra. Antony shares many characteristics with other tragic male figures in literature meant to embody the risks of overindulgence: he, like so many other men in his position, is drawn away from calls of duty and honor by a woman, who encourages his hedonism. Often, when this misogynistic narrative choice is made, the writer goes to great lengths to condemn the overindulgence of both parties involved, leveraging a moralizing tone in an attempt to teach the reader something. In these types of narratives, the woman is often presented as the primary perpetrator or tempter, while the man becomes her tragic victim: take, for example, the story of Adam and Eve's expulsion from the Garden of Eden in Genesis. Eve is the first one to give in to temptation; she then tempts Adam into sin and drags him along with her.
Tonally, it would have been easy for Shakespeare to fall into this particular brand of tragic narrative; and indeed, if Cleopatra was a more one-dimensional character, this interpretation might hold. Instead, she is a complex and interesting person who is prone to extremes of emotion that go against a more Roman stoicism but do not take away from the audience's ability to sympathize with her. Shakespeare does not seem to favor stoicism and virtue (virtus) as morally superior, projecting a more temperate, generous tone towards his varied and complex characters.