Plutarch and Shakespeare Compared

The Life of Marcus Antonius Antony and Cleopatra
But it annoyed Antony that in all their amusements, on any trial of skill or fortune, Caesar should be constantly victorious. He had with him an Egyptian diviner, one of those who calculate nativities, who, either to make his court to Cleopatra, or that by the rules of his art he found it to be so, openly declared to him that though the fortune that attended him was bright and glorious, yet it was overshadowed by Caesar's; and advised him to keep himself as far distant as he could from that young man; "for your Genius," said he, "dreads his; when absent from him yours is proud and brave, but in his presence unmanly and dejected;" and incidents that occurred appeared to show that the Egyptian spoke truth. For whenever they cast lots for any playful purpose, or threw dice, Antony was still the loser; and when they fought game-cocks or quails, Caesar's had the victory. Soothsayer
I see it in
My motion, have it not in my tongue:
But yet hie you to Egypt again.
MARK ANTONY
Say to me,
Whose fortunes shall rise higher, Caesar's or mine?
Soothsayer
Caesar's.
Therefore, O Antony, stay not by his side:
Thy demon, that's thy spirit which keeps thee, is
Noble, courageous high, unmatchable,
Where Caesar's is not; but, near him, thy angel
Becomes a fear, as being o'erpower'd: therefore
Make space enough between you.
MARK ANTONY
Speak this no more.
Soothsayer
To none but thee; no more, but when to thee.
If thou dost play with him at any game,
Thou art sure to lose; and, of that natural luck,
He beats thee 'gainst the odds: thy lustre thickens,
When he shines by: I say again, thy spirit
Is all afraid to govern thee near him;
But, he away, 'tis noble.
MARK ANTONY
Get thee gone:
Say to Ventidius I would speak with him:
Exit Soothsayer
He shall to Parthia. Be it art or hap,
He hath spoken true: the very dice obey him;
And in our sports my better cunning faints
Under his chance: if we draw lots, he speeds;
His cocks do win the battle still of mine,
When it is all to nought; and his quails ever
Beat mine, inhoop'd, at odds.

II.iii.13-37


Commentary:

Plutarch cites Caesar's superiority at games as causing Antony spite and anger, and provoking Antony to leave Rome for Greece with his new wife, Octavia.
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