Plutarch and Shakespeare Compared

The Life of Marcus Antonius Antony and Cleopatra
Whilst he [Antony] was thus diverting himself and engaged in this boy's play, two despatches arrived; one from Rome, that his brother Lucius and his wife Fulvia, after many quarrels among themselves, had joined in war against Caesar, and having lost all, had fled out of Italy; the other bringing little better news, that Labienus, at the head of the Parthians, was overrunning Asia, from Euphrates and Syria as far as Lydia and Ionia


Fulvia

Messenger
Fulvia thy wife first came into the field.
MARK ANTONY
Against my brother Lucius?
Messenger
Ay:
But soon that war had end, and the time's state
Made friends of them, joining their force 'gainst Caesar;
Whose better issue in the war, from Italy,
Upon the first encounter, drave them.
MARK ANTONY
Well, what worst?
Messenger
The nature of bad news infects the teller.
MARK ANTONY
When it concerns the fool or coward. On:
Things that are past are done with me. 'Tis thus:
Who tells me true, though in his tale lie death,
I hear him as he flatter'd.
Messenger
Labienus--
This is stiff news--hath, with his Parthian force,
Extended Asia from Euphrates;
His conquering banner shook from Syria
To Lydia and to Ionia

I.ii.89-104


Commentary:

Plutarch writes that Antony went to war against the Parthians, but later discovered that the troubles were caused by his wife, Fulvia, who was trying to get him to return to Rome.
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