Enobarbus, Anthony’s right-hand, pays homage to her beauty and powers of seduction…
“Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
Her infinite variety. Other women cloy
The appetites they feed, but she makes me hungry
Where most she satisfies.”
Another glimpse into her luxurious pomp and gorgeous extravagance in all its force and lustre is presented to us when Enobarbus, in rich poetical prose, describes Anthony’s first meeting with Cleopatra.
“The barge she sat in, like a burnished throne,
Burned on the water: the poop was beaten gold;
Purple the sails, and so perfumèd, that
The winds were lovesick with them; the oars were silver,
Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made
The water which they beat to follow faster,
An introduction of this nature would almost certainly prepare the way for, and almost justify Anthony’s infatuation with her.
Pride of beauty and regal haughtiness is perfectly illustrated in her conversation with Antony’s messenger who had been tasked to spy on and report back on Anthony’s antics abroad.
“There’s gold, and here
My bluest veins to kiss!”
But like any jealous, insecure woman, Cleopatra erupts furiously at the unwelcome news of Anthony’s marriage to Octavia and only grew content when told that her rival was homely by Elizabethan standards: short, low-browed and round-faced with bad hair. Not much different to women of today, is she?