What our contempts doth often hurl from us,
We wish it ours again. The present pleasure,
By revolution lowering, does become
The opposite of itself. She’s good, being gone.
The hand could pluck her back that shoved her on.
I must from this enchanting queen break off.
(Act 1, scene 2, lines 137–43)

Antony recognizes the emotional turmoil he experiences when he’s around Cleopatra, in which pleasure can easily “become / The opposite of itself.” He fears that this turmoil might cause a similar inversion in himself, stripping him of his masculine Roman identity. This fear echoes the fears other Romans have expressed about Antony’s affair with Cleopatra. Antony therefore decides to return to Rome and restore his allegiance to its core values of duty, honor, and reason. Otherwise, the Egyptian values of passion and emotion will claim him: “These strong Egyptian fetters I must break, / Or lose myself in dotage” (1.2.128–29).

Charmian: Madam, methinks, if you did love him dearly,
You do not hold the method to enforce
The like from him.
Cleopatra: What should I do I do not?
Charmian: In each thing give him way; cross him in nothing.
Cleopatra: Thou teachest like a fool: the way to lose him.
(Act 1, scene 3, lines 7–9)

This amusing exchange between Charmian and Cleopatra recalls two teenage girls talking about boy troubles. Charmian is trying to quell Cleopatra’s intense emotions around Antony’s decision to return to Rome. She attempts to do so by applying logic to love, saying that the best way for her mistress to demonstrate her love for Antony is to give him space and the agency to do what he deems necessary. Cleopatra, however, rejects Charmian’s reasoning and instead asserts her own love logic: giving him space is “the [best] way to lose him.”

Enobarbus: Most worthy sir, you therein throw away
The absolute soldiership you have by land,
Distract your army, which doth most consist
Of war-marked footmen, leave unexecuted
Your own renownèd knowledge, quite forgo
The way which promises assurance, and
Give up yourself merely to chance and hazard
From firm security.
Antony: I’ll fight at sea.
(Act 3, scene 7, lines 53–61)

In act 3, scene 7, Antony’s advisors attempt to convince him not to engage Octavius in a naval battle. His army, they reason, is trained to fight on land, and therefore they have a much greater chance at victory if they engage in land-based combat. Against all logic, however, Antony insists on fighting at sea. His insistence is clearly tied to his love for Cleopatra, who also encourages a sea battle and pledges her fleet of ships to the cause. His military decision is thus clearly swayed by emotion rather than reason. In the above exchange between Enobarbus and Antony, we can see the conflict between the advisor’s tactical logic and the general’s obstinate refusal to see sense.