Potrayal of Cleopatra

AA100 The Arts Past and Present – Book 1 Reputations

Assignment 01 ??“ Cleopatra

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Throughout the 21st century Cleopatra has provided us with both a ???historical figure and a legend??? Cleopatra – The Arts Past and Present (AA100 DVD)Title 7 Chapter 1, The Open University .

We shall examine how two films, from 1934, and 1963 have represented her, noting the similarities and differences, in relation to the eras during which they were created.

Costumes and staging are one similarity; both films depicting splendour and extravagance. In the 1934 film ???huge pillars??¦distinctly shaped table legs..project an ambience of oriental splendour???. Ibid Title 7 Chapter 2. The 1963 production ???took extravagance to a whole new level??¦.nowhere is this opulence more evident than Cleopatra??™s entry to Rome???. Ibid,Title 7 Chapter 3.

Romance was present in both films. In 1934, more significantly where the story represented ???Cleopatra??™s destructive infatuation with..two great loves..and less as a queen and stateswoman???. Ibid Title 7 Chapter 2. Furthermore, the 1934 production demonstrated Colberre??™s ???girly ditziness??? with a storyline ???reduced to a battle of the sexes??? It would appear in this production that ???dealing with the mighty Rome is just a bit of lighthearted fun???. Ibid, Title 7 Chapter 2

???Romance is still a cornerstone of this (1963) production??? . Ibid, Title 7 Chapter 3. However,the impression created a portrait of a shrewd stateswoman, ???Cleopatra is widely read..in natural sciences??¦speaks seven languages proficiently???. Cleopatra ???probed the weaknesses of her opponents and whose opulent nature overwhelms resistance???. Ibid,Title 7 Chapter 3. This was a film where the message was not just of romance.

Current issues were reflected in both films. In 30??™s the role in society of women changed: with voting, equal opportunities and pay. With divorce and pre-marital sex increasing, the Catholic Church took steps in policing the morals of the day ??“ and Hollywood also had to promote traditional values.

Contemporary issues and politics were also refected in the 1963 film, Cleopatra talks of ???one world??¦one nation???,perhaps commenting on the presence of the UN. Ibid,Title 7 Chapter 3. Indeed her role as a leader and stateswoman may be seen as a precursor to the rising equality of the sexes and gender issues of the later 1960s.

Importantly both films tell us about the current issues and of the day, which ??? tells us about ourselves and our own values???. Fear, Trevor; Cleopatra, 1.5 p26, The Open University.

However,???legends??¦. have a tendency to obscure and distort the actual Cleopatra of history???. Fear, Trevor; Cleopatra 1.4 p15, The Open University. Evolving evidence, alongside growing materials and facts, influences our view of Cleopatra: and therefore her impact to our ever changing world. Its clear then – many depictions of Cleopatra have remained, whilst others have changed.

A current debate on Afrocentrism where a wish to ???promote the primacy of African civilisation??? Fear, Trevor- Cleopatra 1.5 page 25. Perhaps this is bringing a new ??? set of values, derived from our own culture, education and upbringing???. Fear, Trevor ??“ Cleopatra 1.3 p6.

There is no doubt then, that our historical knowledge of Cleopatra will continue to grow. However as we see the world and our relationship with issues continually change ??“ ???so too the reputation (and portrayal) of Cleopatra will continue to evolve???. Fear, Trevor- Cleopatra 1.5 p25


Fear, Trevor: Book 1 Reputations, Cleopatra – The Arts Past and Present, (AA100) The Open University

Cleopatra – DVD (AA100 The Arts Past and Present) ??“ Book 1 Reputations, The Open University

Iambic pentameter ??“ stressed and unstressed syllables ??“ lines are unrhymed

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