Counting down to Valentine's Day, we are reminiscing famous love stories.
After defeating Brutus and Cassius, following the assassination of Julius Caesar, Mark Antony becomes one of the three rulers of the Roman Empire, together with Octavius Caesar and Lepidus, and is responsible for the eastern part of the empire. He falls in love with Cleopatra, the Queen of Egypt, and settles in Alexandria. However, he is compelled to return to Rome when the empire is threatened by the rebellion of Sextus Pompey, the son of Pompey, who had been defeated by Julius Caesar.
As his wife has just died Antony marries Octavius’ sister, Octavia, in an attempt to heal the rift between the two emperors. They make peace with Pompey. When Cleopatra hears about Antony’s marriage she flies into a jealous rage but knows that Antony does not love Octavia. Antony goes to Athens but when war breaks out between Caesar and Pompey, Antony sends Octavia back to Rome and returns to Egypt.
Caesar is incensed with Antony’s behaviour and he declares war on both Antony and Cleapatra. When the Romans arrive Antony is offered a choice of how to fight and, despite being renowned as the world’s greatest soldier, he chooses to fight on sea. The Egyptian navy is inadequate and when Cleopatra’s navy turns and flees, Antony follows them and Caesar defeats him.
Cleopatra goes to her tomb and sends a message to Antony that she is dead. Antony is devastated and decides to kill himself. He botches the suicide and wounds himself without dying. His followers take him to Cleopatra’s tomb, where he dies in her arms.
Cleopatra’s life is in tatters. Having lost Antony and being at the mercy of Caesar, she resolves to commit suicide. She has someone bring her some poisonous snakes and incites them to bite her. Caesar arrives just after her death and orders that the two lovers be buried together.
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- No Sweat Shakespeare