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Antony and Cleopatra. Comment on the Romans construct of Cleopatra as a cultural stereotype.

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Introduction

Assignment on Antony and Cleopatra Question: Comment on the Roman�s construct of Cleopatra as a cultural stereotype.         Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare is one of the best known tragedies of William Shakespeare. The tragedy is a portrayal of the actual events and persons from the Roman history and it also embodies the love story of the title characters. The plot, historical background and the intimate details of the affair between the title characters, the Egyptian queen Cleopatra and the Roman General Antony has been borrowed from the Roman historian Plutarch�s �Lives�. In the characters of Antony, Cleopatra and Augustus Caesar; Shakespeare displays larger than life characters. The play is a very involved play that operates with rapid shifts between the homeland of Antony, Rome and the palace of Cleopatra in Alexandria, Egypt.                    The assortment of perspectives from which we see Cleopatra illustrates the varying understandings of her as a decadent foreign woman and a noble ruler. As Philo and Demetrius take the stage in Act I, scene i, their complaints about Antony�s neglected duties frame the audience�s understanding of Cleopatra, the queen for whom Antony risks his reputation. Within the first ten lines of the play, the men declare Cleopatra to be a lustful �gipsy,� a description that is repeated throughout the play as though by a chorus (Act I, Scene i). ...read more.

Middle

Cleopatra often behaves childishly and with relentless self-absorption; nevertheless, her charisma, strength, and indomitable will make her one of Shakespeare�s strongest, most awe-inspiring female characters.           The Romans construe the character of Cleopatra due to her love affairs with the two powerful and noble men of Rome. She became well known due to her affair with the two roman rulers, Julius Caesar and Mark Antony.        On the death of her father Cleopatra became the ruler of Egypt along with her elder brother. But her brother�s friends drew her out of Egypt. She was helped by Julius Caesar who came to her country and helped her regain the throne. This time she ruled along with her younger brother. Bot Caesar and Cleopatra fell in love with each other, and also said to have had a son together called Caesarian. The romans could also have a good idea about Cleopatra when she stayed in Caesar�s villa for some time. Cleopatra returned to Egypt when Caesar was murdered in 44 B.C. After Caesar's death two men struggled for power in Rome: Mark Antony and Octavious. Mark Antony felt attracted to Cleopatra and the Egyptian queen helped him in his battle against Octavious. ...read more.

Conclusion

This seemed quite incongruous. A pharaoh wanders away from her own kingdom, to set up house in another? But why? Just for love? The Romans wondered much the same. What could she gain? Rome itself? All too quickly the hatred was brewing. Only a short time after Cleopatra set up house in Rome, Caesar was murdered. Was this far more than some vendetta against Caesar alone? Was this a means of getting rid of Cleopatra? History shows that Cleopatra subsequently left Rome in quite a hurry; she returned to Egypt.        It was well known she wanted to build a solid, Egyptian kingdom. The Romans knew her connections with Mark Antony had political possibilities in Cleopatra's favors. The Romans saw this bond as a threat to Rome. And so Romans flocked to a new rising star who was not smitten by Cleopatra. This was Octavious, who was to become the Emperor Augustus. Inevitably, there would be a clash of a Roman against a Roman, Mark Antony against Octavious; and this was the Battle of Actium. In short, Cleopatra had undone the careers of two mighty Roman men and had split Rome against Rome.       Critics still wonder if Cleopatra did not have relations with these two great Roman leaders, would the Romans still think of her as they did now. The answer could be yes, as Cleopatra as a ruler was murderous and a plunderer. ...read more.

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