Cleopatra

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Primary sources are very important in the aid of research. They give usfirst hand accounts of historical events, whether as an actual participant, witness or simply an historian of the time.Primary resources I used for this paper are the writings of Plutarch and Dio Cassius. There are no primary resources that directly document Cleopatra’s life. While Plutarch and Dio Cassius lived about 200 years after her death, they are the closest resources that give any information about her. Granted the information is given in relation to her affect upon Julius Caesar and Mark Antony’s lives, but it does offer us insight to her personality and character. I would like to note at this time that Plutarch seems to have a more objective viewpoint where she is concerned than that of Dio Cassius. Dio Cassius seems to have a generally sour opinion of her and seems to blame her for the downfall of Caesar and Antony.
In the winter of 68 BCE, the famous Cleopatra VII was born into a world of royal corruption and intrigue. She learned early the manipulative methods of survival. She was taught in the pharaonic tradition of her ancestors to rule with their “brother-husbands.”1 She was thoroughly educated in Greek literature such as those written by Homer and Hesiod, as well as the works of Euripides. Other disciplines she learned were arithmetic, astronomy, medicine, and she could even draw, sing, or play the lyre. She learned several languages fluently and was rarely in need of an interpreter when she was Queen.2 She was thefirst of her dynasty who actually took the time to learn the language of her subjects.
In 51 BCE, Cleopatra’s father, Ptolemy XII died. Hisfirst heir, his daughter Berenice, was killed by her husband. Therefore Cleopatra, according to dynastic tradition, married her 10 years old brother, Ptolemy XIII, and became Queen of Egypt at the age of 18. Because her husband was so young, the marriage was in …

Cleopatra

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At the time of Cleopatra's release, in 1934 and again in 1963, times were changing for the role of the woman. Female society needed a spokeswoman and they found one in Cleopatra.The historical occurrences prior to 1934 and also between 1934 and 1963 are remarkable for female progression politically, economically and socially.These advances have everything to do with the changes and progression of the role of Cleopatra.The women of ancient Egypt are known to have had more rights than many other societies of that time period and even today.The women of the thirties and the sixties identified with Egypt and Cleopatra's quest for power, her ability to dominate men through sexual prowess and cunning, her creative ploys and her courage.Along with Cleopatra's positive attributes, however, are many negative attributes.While her image is one of a sexual and powerful leader, both films find their focus in areas outside these attributes.In 1934, Claudette Colbert portrays a playful seductress while Elizabeth Taylor, in 1963, portrays a power-hungry glamour queen.Fortunately, both movies represented a woman in a leading role in Hollywood and in history.Claudette Colbert, Elizabeth Taylor and the rediscovery of Cleopatra provided an important role model for the women of the time.
No one is a better representative for the changing female norms than a woman whose image has become that of a beautiful, intelligent, cunning seductress.Each depiction of Cleopatra, in 1934 and 1963, is representative of society's beliefs and needs during the time of the movie release.Claudette Colbert in 1934 represents a childish, playful and mischievous Cleopatra; whereas Elizabeth Taylor of 1963 represents a domineering, cunning and glamorous Cleopatra.Each time period created an image of Cleopatra that was acceptable and parallel to the actual role of women in society during that time.Women of '34 identified wi…