Antony and Cleopatra

Back to List of Characters


Canidius is a prominent character in William Shakespeare's play Antony and Cleopatra. He is a loyal and skilled military officer, serving as one of Mark Antony's trusted generals. Canidius plays a significant role in the play, showcasing his unwavering loyalty, military prowess, and strategic thinking. Throughout the play, Canidius is portrayed as a steadfast supporter of Mark Antony. He is depicted as a disciplined and honorable soldier, always ready to carry out Antony's orders without question. Canidius remains loyal to Antony, even when faced with difficult decisions and conflicting loyalties. One of the most notable moments for Canidius occurs in Act III, Scene 7, where he is entrusted with leading a fleet against Octavius Caesar's forces. Antony, in a moment of doubt, challenges Canidius to prove his loyalty by defecting to Caesar's side. However, Canidius remains steadfast in his loyalty to Antony, declaring, "I'll never follow thy pall'd fortunes more" (III.7.7). This moment showcases Canidius' unwavering loyalty and dedication to his commander. In Act IV, Scene 6, Canidius plays a crucial role in the Battle of Actium. Despite the odds being against Antony and Cleopatra, Canidius demonstrates his military prowess and strategic thinking. However, in a surprising turn of events, Canidius sees the tides turning in favor of Caesar and decides to defect to his side. This unexpected betrayal shocks Antony and further contributes to his downfall.

Canidius' Redemption

In Act IV, Scene 7, Canidius has a change of heart and realizes the error of his ways. He witnesses Antony's bravery and determination, even in the face of defeat. Canidius deeply regrets his betrayal and decides to sacrifice himself for Antony's cause. He orders his soldiers to lay down their weapons and surrender to Antony, declaring, "I am for the air; this night I'll spend / Unto a dismal and a fatal end" (IV.7.18-19). Canidius' redemption is a crucial turning point in the play. His decision to rejoin Antony's side showcases his loyalty and honor, even in the face of imminent death. This act of sacrifice ultimately leads to Antony and Cleopatra's tragic demise. In conclusion, Canidius is a significant character in Antony and Cleopatra. His unwavering loyalty, military prowess, and eventual redemption make him a compelling figure in the play. Canidius' character serves to highlight the themes of loyalty, honor, and the consequences of betrayal.