Octavius is Caesar’s great-nephew and adopted son, and, as stated in his will, the heir to his empire. Within the play, Octavius functions as a contrast to Mark Antony. Antony proves himself to be a skilled politician, while Octavius is man of action and lacks Antony’s political cunning. The two join forces once Octavius arrives in Rome following the death of Caesar, but their personalities clash. Octavius pushes back when Antony insults Lepidus, the third member of their triumvirate, and although Antony characterizes Octavius as young and inexperienced, Octavius stands firm in his decisions when the battle ensues.

In Act I, Antony remarks, “When Caesar says ‘Do this,’ it is performed,” and equates this ability with “the mark of a powerful leader.” In defying Antony, Octavius proves himself to be an echo of Caesar and an extension of his authority. Indeed, Antony begins calling Octavius “Caesar,” a nod to Octavius’s future as the leader of Rome and the ensuing power struggle Shakespeare explores in Antony and Cleopatra.