To what extent do Roman depictions of Cleopatra appear to have influenced how she has been depicted on TV and in film?
Roman depictions of Cleopatra have played quite an influential part on how Cleopatra has been depicted on TV and in film. The written accounts, in which we can learn about Cleopatra, have been taken from Roman resources and we do not have an Egyptian counterpart to use as comparison. However, the accounts themselves have been written after the actual events, so cannot be taken as history per say.
Over the different generations of depictions of Cleopatra, the media has been able to mould Cleopatra into an image suited to the fashions of the time, but with keeping the fundamental characteristics the same. In the 1917 production Cleopatra was played with a powerful and threatening persona, from an alien land. At this time it was the common attitude that powerful woman were dangerous. By the next production in 1934, during the art deco movement, Cleopatra was still seen as exotic, but this time also very glamorous and flirtatious. With the legion of decency working to promote marriage and not extra-marital sex and divorce, which was becoming more fashionable, the film allowed the right amount of excitement but also the reminder of danger with Cleopatra’s suicide. Moving on nearly 30 years to 1963, to a time of romance, Cleopatra’s exoticness remains with extra extravagance. Political influences can be compared with notions of “living as one” or a “single world culture” that Cleopatra talks about, with Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy.
(Fear speaking in, Cleopatra, 2008)
Exotic and powerful and even brave notes remain to present day with portrayals of Cleopatra. In Horace, Ode ...
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...stus as more resolute and less divided:
Why the seigniory of Emden shall be mine.
When Mephistopheles shall stand by me,
What god can hurt thee, Faustus? Thou art safe;
Cast no more doubts. Come Mephistopheles,
And bring glad tidings from great Lucifer.
Is’t not midnight? Come, Mephistopheles!
Veni, veni Mephistopheles!”
(Marlowe, The A text, 2003, pg. 33)
He cannot wait for Mephistopheles to arrive, and for himself to feel safe and have everything he wants, and says his name three times almost yelling for him.
Word length 527.
Moohan, E. (2008) Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus, Anita Pacheco, AA100 Book 1 Reputations, Milton Keynes. The Open University pp 30-54.
Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus, Act 2, Scene 1, 11. 1-29 in John O’Connor (ed.) (2003).
Doctor Faustus: the A text, Harlow, Pearson Longman, pg. 33
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