Unraveling Cleopatra

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Unraveling Cleopatra "She took a small boat, and one only of her confidants, Apollodorus, the Sicilian, along with her, and in the dusk of the evening landed near the palace. She was at a loss how to get in undiscovered, till she thought of putting herself into the coverlet of a bed and lying at length, whilst Apollodorus tied up the bedding and carried it on his back through the gates to Caesar's apartment. Caesar was first captivated by this proof of Cleopatra's bold wit, and was afterwards so overcome by the charm of her society that he made a reconciliation between her and her brother, on the condition that she should rule as his colleague in the kingdom." (The Life of Julius Caesar, Plutarch; translation by Dryden) Abstract Whether Cleopatra rolls out of an ornate carpet as authorative and in control or as the more stereotypical image of a sensual temptress, the carpet 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 into cinematography. With the advent of movie making multiple versions of Cleopatra and her legend were produced, each distinct in their own right. Each version retells the carpet scene differently, and offers a different Cleopatra. The first impression of Cleopatra is imprinted by the carpet scene and sheds light on who Cleopatra is in the respective narrative or film. If she tumbles out of the carpet in a rev... ... middle of paper ... ...ert, Warren William and Henry Wilcoxen. Paramount, 1934. Cleopatra. Dir. Joseph L. Mankiewicz. With Elizabeth Taylor, Rex Harrison and Richard Burton. 20th Century Fox, 1963. Cleopatra. Dir. Robert Halmi Sr. With Leonor Varela, Timothy Dalton and Billy Zane. ABC, 1999. Dirks, Tim, "Greatest Films- Comprehensive Analysis of Classic US Films" (1996), URL: http://www.filmsite.org/cleo.html (12 Dec. 1999). Fielding, Sarah, The Lives of Cleopatra and Octavia [1757], Lewisburg: Bucknell UP, 1994. George, Margaret, The Memoirs of Cleopatra, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1997. Koller, Brian, "Cleopatra (1937)", URL: http://us.imdb.com/Reviews/165/16511 (12 Dec. 1999). Leyendecker, Frank, "Box Office On-line Review", (June 17, 1963), URL: http://www.boxoffice.com/classic.html (12 Dec. 1999). Plutarch, "The Life of Julius Caesar", Trans. John Dryden.

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