This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

The Fictional Character Cleopatra Essay

1891 words - 8 pages

The Fictional Character Cleopatra

The fictional character of Cleopatra has captured the imaginations of people the world over. Helen of Troy was said to have had ‘the face that launched a thousand ships.’ Cleopatra was not simply a beautiful and passive face, but indeed commanded navies as well as the heart of the powerful Mark Antony. Looking at these two facts from the play one may see the political brilliance in her affections, but also the dichotomy. Which one of her loves is true, and which is of an illusory nature? There is a constant battle between her passion towards the mighty Roman and her yearning for sovereignty and the glory of Egypt on her own terms. This question certainly embroils the mind of Mark Antony, at least. All of this however, only adds to her enigmatic depth of character and mystique.

Cleopatra, despite being cunning and even manipulative can be defined as one of literature’s great lovers. She was a lover of men and a lover of her country. A figure more driven in these categories would be hard to find. Yet parallels can be drawn with Queen Elizabeth I of England. Both were ardent, patriotic leaders descended from powerful rulers (in the case of Elizabeth, Henry VIII, and in Cleopatra’s instance the Ptolemeic dynasty). Wielding great authority themselves, Cleopatra also used her charms as a courtesan to bend the wills of her political peers. Elizabeth used her unmarried status to manage numerous suitors to her political advantage. Their intelligence is another common trait. “Elizabeth’s linguistic ability is well attested, not only by her tutor Ascham, but by visitors to the English court who speak of precisely this facility in replying to ambassadors either in Latin or in their own tongues” (Smith 214). Shakespeare’s beloved modern monarch would inevitably had some indirect influence on his writing, as her reign cast a massive shadow of governance and prosperity over England at that time. As the ‘virgin queen’ she bore no heirs, and curiously Shakespeare’s works have a distinct lack of mother characters. Cleopatra, historically the mother of Julius Caesar and Mark Antony’s children, is only referred to as a matriarch once and briefly in this particular play. Motherhood was not a new theme for women characters, but power, lust, learnedness, intelligence, and ambition were somewhat more novel.

Cleopatra is seen by people of the 21st century as the last symbolic link with the glorious and opulent empire of ancient Egypt. This view would have been largely shared by the audience of the 17th century as well. There has always been a human fascination with power and abundance. Antony and Cleopatra is richly endowed with imagery of this.

The barge she sat in, like a burnished throne
Burned on the water. The poop was beaten gold;
Purple the sails, and so perfumed that
The winds were...

Find Another Essay On The Fictional Character Cleopatra

What do the representations of Cleopatra in film and on television (as shown on the DVD Video ‘Cleopatra’) tell us about how her reputation changed over time? Discuss with reference to two or three...

636 words - 3 pages What do the representations of Cleopatra in film and on television (as shown on the DVD Video 'Cleopatra') tell us about how her reputation changed over time? Discuss with reference to two or three representations.It can be seen through the various representations of Cleopatra, that her image has changed over time. There have been many different portrayals of her in films over the years, but what we really need to understand, is what external

What Ultimately Made Cleopatra Attractive? Essay

848 words - 4 pages CHARACTER Cleopatra was regarded as a great beauty. What ultimately made Cleopatra attractive were her wit, charm, and “sweetness in the tone of her voice”. “For she was a women of surpassing beauty” (Cassius Dio). When she was in the prime of her youth, she was most striking. She possessed a most charming voice and knowledge of how to make herself agreeable to everyone. She was brilliant, and knew how to use her beauty to influence the most

Shakespeare's Use of Language in Antony and Cleopatra

2734 words - 11 pages Shakespeare's Use of Language in Antony and Cleopatra Enobarbus uses the phrase "infinite variety" to describe the beauty and wonder of Cleopatra to Agrippa and Maecenas in Act 2 Scene 2. In the context of the whole play I believe it is a perfect description of how Cleopatra uses the different aspects of her character. Shakespeare uses language, imagery and structure to show the different sides of her personality

Caesar and Cleopatra

1063 words - 5 pages lover’s persistence to be together is inspiring and heartwarming. At the beginning of the film, Cleopatra is just a fragile young girl who fears the Romans. With Caesar’s help, the viewer watches Cleopatra transform into a powerful ruler who knows what she wants and is willing to do just about anything to get her way. Although it is not displayed in the most conventional way, this too is inspiring and exhibits excellent character growth. Interestingly

A Comparison of Cleopatra and Heloise

1322 words - 5 pages own desires without considering the lives of their own children. Throughout "Antony and Cleopatra" pressure and blame is put on the female characters. Cleopatra receives blame for Antony's demise. Pressure to mend the triumvirs damaged relationship is heaped onto Octavia, a minor female character. This shows that women were not held in as high regard as men in their time. Heloise holds tight to the Old Testament views of femininity where

Unraveling Cleopatra

2757 words - 11 pages scene functions as an introduction between Cleopatra and Julius Caesar. More importantly, the scene also provides valuable insight into Cleopatra's character. Plutarch's account of Cleopatra's first encounter with Julius Caesar inspired countless artists to recreate their own interpretations. First prose and narratives, the workings of creative imaginations, emerged. Soon, the stirring mental images are captured on canvas and eventually breathed

an Essay on criticism

1555 words - 6 pages motivations from the powerful Marc Antony to the rest of the cast. Personal and political motives affect the central themes of love and honor. Marc Antony has an internal conflict in choosing between his family, Octavia and his two daughters, and his mistress, Cleopatra. The main character, Marc Antony, shirks his political duty for the sake of his love relationship with Cleopatra. His peers deem Marc Antony's actions to be irresponsible and believe

Cleopatra, by Cecil B. de Mille, Cleopatra, by Joseph L. Mankiewcs, and Cleopatra Jones, by Jack Starrett

1490 words - 6 pages . Instead of being a simply black Cleopatra going through all the standard scenes of the queens life, the film takes Dobson and makes her into a heroine that African Americans can actually relate to. In the other Cleopatra films African Americans are used only as 'local color'. They play the parts of slaves, and dancers, but never appear as a main character. “Ultimately, Cleopatra Jones is a film that attempts to be a representational corrective

William Shakespeare's Presentation of Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra

2998 words - 12 pages manages to act the way she does, with such an alarming range of emotions, for example forging illness for attention and accusing Antony of leaving Egypt for the wrong reasons. I think that Shakespeare wanted her character to be spontaneous, dramatic and attractive towards men so that the audience would build up very strong opinions of her, whether they are good or bad. Throughout the play so far, Cleopatra has been presented

William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra

2655 words - 11 pages William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra In the play Antony and Cleopatra, the character of Cleopatra is one of many dimensions and be seen a person of complex diversity. Her personality is mainly about

Egyptian Tales Galore

1829 words - 8 pages effort of the lovers and Antony committed suicide thinking Cleopatra did while Cleopatra committed suicide two weeks after, letting her children and Egypt go under Rome’s rule. To be able to analyze how the inaccuracies of the film affect the overall accuracy of the movie, we must check the inaccuracy of the costume design, character/figure portrayal and set design and set facts. A major aspect of the movie Cleopatra that was portrayed inaccurately

Similar Essays

The Contrast Of Character Between Cleopatra And Octavia

2819 words - 11 pages is dispassionate, while Cleopatra's "otherness" prevents her from attaining the respectable title of Antony's wife despite their love. Octavia acts as a character foil for Cleopatra, highlighting Cleopatra's foreign nature and her sexuality, which the Romans find unattractive and unacceptable in the character of a woman. Plutarch: The Life of Marcus Antonius I begin my study of the comparison of Cleopatra and Octavia with Plutarch's The

The Character Of Enorbarbus In William Shakespeare's Antony And Cleopatra

965 words - 4 pages The Character of Enorbarbus in William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra Enobarbus’s character can be seen as the most striking invention of Shakespeare. As the lieutenant of Antony, he contributes to the drama in a number of ways. He is sympathetic to Antony from the start, loyal and fellow feeling. Instead of agreeing with Antony at the beginning where he says he wishes he had never met Cleopatra, Enobarbus

Cleopatra Essay

878 words - 4 pages character was legendary throughout her life and after her death. The fascination of her life has remained constant through the ages. Her involvement with two powerful Roman men helped further her position as a ruler. Cleopatra was a liberated woman who assisted in strengthening the society of ancient Egypt. Works Cited "Cleopatra." Compton's Encyclopedia & Fact Index. 1997 ed. "Cleopatra VII." The New Encyclopedia

Cleopatra Essay

903 words - 4 pages to become the sole ruler of Rome by declaring war on Antony in 32 B.C. Cleopatra spread a false report that she had committed suicide which drove Antony to his death (Sinnigen 663). Cleopatra attempted to make peace with Octavian but failed. In despair, she killed herself by placing and asp, "a symbol of divine royalty" on herself ("Cleopatra VII" 378).Cleopatra's character was legendary throughout her life and after her death. The fascination of