One of three members of the triumvirate that jointly rules the Roman Empire, the other members being Octavius Caesar and Lepidus. Antony was once a feared and respected soldier, but his credibility and authority have diminished due to his high-profile love affair with Cleopatra. As the play opens, Antony has retreated to Egypt to be close to Cleopatra. He soon finds himself torn between the Western world of duty and reason—represented by Rome—and the Eastern world of desire and pleasure—reflected in Egypt and his love for Cleopatra. Antony feels the need to reaffirm the honor that has made him a celebrated Roman hero, but he cannot deny the love that continually draws him to Cleopatra.
The queen of Egypt and Antony’s lover. A powerful and attractive woman, Cleopatra derives much joy from the emotional and physical control she wields over Antony. Her emotions are as volatile as they are theatrical, which is seen in her explosive and sensual attempts to manipulate Antony. While her actions and emotions often seem artificial and self-consciously dramatic, her love for Antony appears genuine.
The second member of the triumvirate that rules the Roman Empire. Octavius is the nephew and adopted son of Julius Caesar. Ambitious and extremely pragmatic, Octavius lacks Antony’s military ability as a general, but his stoic reasoning and political savvy guarantee his success and prevent him from succumbing to the heroic or romantic folly that plagues Antony. Throughout the play, Octavius is placed in opposition to Cleopatra as representations of West and East, respectively.
The third member of the triumvirate that rules the Roman Empire. Marcus Aemilius Lepidus lacks the political and personal strength of Octavius and Antony. Lepidus attempts to keep peace between Octavius and Antony but ultimately fails and is later imprisoned by Octavius for treason.
Sextus Pompeius (Pompey)
The son of a great general. Pompey’s youth and popularity are matched by his military strength and expertise. He is a legitimate threat to the triumvirate, but his honor prevents him from taking advantage of political opportunities that arise. He refuses to let his men to kill the unsuspecting Caesar, Antony, and Lepidus when they are his guests.
Antony’s lieutenant and most loyal supporter. Enobarbus is wise and often sarcastic. He is devoted to Antony, despite Antony’s political and military blunders. Enobarbus eventually leaves his master to serve Octavius, but soon laments his choice, realizing that, for him, loyalty is above all.
Octavius Caesar’s sister. Octavia marries Antony in order to cement an alliance between the two triumvirs. She is the paradigm of Roman womanhood and a dutiful wife, but this also makes her vulnerable to Antony’s deception.
Charmian and Iras
Cleopatra’s faithful attendants.
An Egyptian fortuneteller who foresees that Antony’s fortune will always pale in comparison to Caesar’s.
One of Octavius Caesar’s men. Dolabella guards the captive Cleopatra.
One of Octavius Caesar’s officers. Agrippa is a confidant of Octavius and a leader of Octavius’s army. Agrippa leads the retreat from Antony’s unexpectedly powerful forces.
A general in Antony’s army. Camidius surrenders and defects to Caesar’s side after the battle in which Antony follows Cleopatra’s lead and flees.
A Roman soldier under Antony’s command. Ventidius leads the legions to victory against the kingdom of Parthia. Though an effective solider, he is cautious in battle for fear that winning too much glory would sour his relationship with Antony.
A courageous and faithful soldier serving under Antony. He garners fantastic wounds in the battle against Caesar’s army. Throughout the play, Scarus remains loyal to Antony.
One of Caesar’s soldiers, who proves untrustworthy.
A servant of Cleopatra. Diomedes is sent to deliver a message to Antony that Cleopatra has not committed suicide.
An attendant serving Antony. To avoid taking his own life, Antony commands Eros to kill him; however, Eros’s love for Antony prevents him from complying with Antony’s wishes.
An ambitious young soldier under Pompey. During the dinner party that Pompey hosts for the triumvirate, Menas asks for permission to kill Caesar, Antony, and Lepidus, which would result in the control of the world falling into his master’s hands.
Cleopatra’s treasurer, who betrays her.
An Egyptian who brings a basket of figs containing poisonous snakes to Cleopatra.
One of Antony’s soldiers.