Levin, That I Might Hear Thee Call Great Caesar
Levin explains the political relationship between the characters in Shakespeare's Antony & Cleopatra. To me, there is more to the mix than what Octavius Caesar lead on. He saw what decadence have done to Antony, that it had made him weak and he decided to take Egypt.
I had the pleasure, as always, to read Mike Rubino's blog. He stated Cleopatra reference to sex and orgasms to make political alliances. She succeeded when she made an alliance with Pompey the Great, Julius Caesar, and Mark Antony.
But I think Octavius Caesar was the first Roman ruler that tried to take Egypt by force, and not going through Cleopatra's bed. When Cleopatra officialy conceded close to the end of the play she did not realize that Caesar wasn't exactly going to play nice. In fact, Caesar always wanted the Egyptian empire for himself. Levin explained that only her death would give him the empire. And in a way Caesar knew that the only way to achieve that is if Antony somehow died. Levin explains:
Caesar is shaken enough to confess that he pursued Antony's death. Yet Caesar is also relieved by Antony death, because it occasions no momentous upheaval in the order of things.