Mark Antony and CleopatraAllusions in Romeo and Juliet
The Story of Mark Antony and Cleopatra
Marcus Antonius (known popularly as Mark Antony) was a Roman general and statesman. As Julius Caesar's friend and right-hand man, he gave the funeral oration after Caesar's assassination which turned the tide of popular opinion against the assassins. As part of the Second Triumvirate of Rome, he ruled uneasily with Octavius Caesar, and Lepidus, famously fell in love with Cleopatra VII of Egypt, and, after his defeat at the Battle of Actium, committed suicide.
In 41 BCE, Cleopatra was summoned to appear before Antony in Tarsus to answer charges she had given aid to Brutus and Cassius. Cleopatra delayed in coming and then delayed further in complying with Antony’s summons, making it clear that, as Queen of Egypt, she would come in her own time when she saw fit. Egypt was, at this time, teetering on the edge of economic chaos but, even so, Cleopatra made sure to present herself as a true sovereign, appearing in luxury on her barge, dressed as Aphrodite.
Mark Antony and Cleopatra instantly became lovers and would remain so for the next ten years. She would bear him three children and he considered her his wife, even though he was married, first, to Fulvia and then to Octavia, the sister of Octavian. He eventually divorced Octavia to marry Cleopatra legally. Years past, leading up to the Battle of Actium where her lover committed suicide, and shortly after herself to follow.
Allusion of Cleopatra and Mark Antony
" Dido a dowdy, Cleopatra a gypsy. Helen and Hero hidings and harlots. This be a grey eye or so, but not to the purpose." (Act II, Scene IV)
Significance of Allusion
The allusion of Cleopatra and Mark Antony is very significant in the play of, "Romeo and Juliet." To begin, this particular allusion relates to both Romeo and Juliet. Juliet being Cleopatra and Romeo being Mark Antony. The quote used to reference the allusion was added in when Romeo returned from his late night session with Juliet. Mercutio began to reference ancient women who were both powerful and inspired love poetry. He used these women to tease Romeo because of his ex-lover Rosaline was pure and did not want to be in a relationship with him.
Also, this allusion is used as a form of foreshadowing because Cleopatra committed suicide over her lover. Just like how Romeo and Juliet killed themselves over one another. Something Romeo and Marc Antony had in common was that they were both relayed the wrong information about the status of their lovers. Both receiving the message that their loved one had died and in return committed suicide right besides them. Additionally, the story of the two lovers, Romeo and Juliet, as well as Cleopatra and Marc Antony are very similar. Both came from the opposite sides of the track and committed suicide because of their lovers death.
Mark, Joshua J. "Cleopatra & Antony." Ancient History Encyclopedia. N.p., Dec.-Jan. 2011. Web. 16 Mar. 2017.
"Romeo and Juliet." SparkNotes. SparkNotes, n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2017.