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Antony & Cleopatra (TV Movie 1981) - Plot Summary Poster

(1981 TV Movie)

Plot Summary

  • Octavius Caesar (later renamed Augustus Caesar, son of the murdered Julius Caesar), Marc Antony, and Lepidus form the triumvirate, the three rulers of the Roman Empire. Antony, though married to Fulvia, spends his time in Egypt, living a life of decadence and conducting an affair with Queen Cleopatra. In Antony's absence, Caesar and Lepidus worry about Pompey's increasing strength. Caesar condemns Antony for neglecting his duties as a statesman and military officer. Hearing that his wife, Fulvia, has died and that Pompey is raising an army to rebel against the triumvirate, Antony feels he must return to Rome. Caesar and Antony try to patch up their quarrel through the marriage of Antony to Caesar's sister Octavia. In Egypt, Cleopatra is told that Antony has married and is furious with jealousy. However, when the messenger says that Octavia is not very beautiful, Cleopatra feels confident that she can win Antony back. The triumvirs meet Pompey, who agrees to keep peace in exchange for control of Sicily and Sardinia. When Antony and Octavia leave for Athens, Caesar breaks his truce, wages war against Pompey, and defeats him. After using Lepidus's army to secure a victory, he imprisons Lepidus. Antony learns this with anger; Octavia pleads him to stay friends with her brother. Antony sends her to Rome, then returns to Cleopatra. In Egypt he raises an army to fight Caesar. Antony decides to fight him at sea, although Caesar has the better navy; and he allows Cleopatra to command a ship, ignoring the protests of Enobarbus, his best friend. Enobarbus deserts him and joins Caesar's army, but then in remorse kills himself. Antony's forces lose the battle when Cleopatra's ship flees and Antony's follows, leaving the rest of the fleet vulnerable to attack. Antony swears he will kill Cleopatra, so she sends word that she has committed suicide. Full of grief, Antony commands his attendant to kill him, but the man kills himself instead. Antony then falls on his own sword. Caesar takes Cleopatra prisoner, planning to display her in Rome as a trophy, but she kills herself with the help of several poisonous asps. Caesar has the two lovers buried beside each other.

    - Written by Fiona Kelleghan <fkelleghan@aol.com>

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