Plutarch describes Cleopatra dressed as Venus, surrounded by a beautiful female crew, rich perfume wafting and music playing. The 1 963 film is consistent with the account of Cleopatra extravagance when arriving into Sicilian, showing an almost exact representation of the scene Plutarch describes. Throughout the film Cleopatra dresses elaborately with exotic scenery surrounding her. When comparing Cleopatra image in the film to the Roman sources, there is very little or no difference in how she displayed herself.
Plutarch writes Cleopatra was not the most beautiful of women. Her own beauty, so we are told was not that incomparable kind which instantly captivates the beholder’. (Scott-Kilter, 1965, p. 294: Plutarch Life of Antonym) He puts it down to strong character and the way she held herself rather than looks. (Scott-Kilter, 1987 up. 52-55 Augustus on Cleopatra 1 . 1), talks about Antonym being bewitched. Plutarch remarks – Cleopatra was capable of casting a spell over men’. (Scott-Kilter, 1965, p. 94: Plutarch Life of Antonym)These images are in clear contrast to the film where Cleopatra is portrayed by Elizabeth Taylor, the glamorous Hollywood actress, with beauty Ewing a strong theme throughout. Example, when Cleopatra meets with Antonym he remarks, – ‘after three years it is possible that you have become even more beautiful’. (Cleopatra 1 963) Romance is key in the film, which contrasts with the Roman SOUrces where there is little or no mention of a personal relationship between Cleopatra with Caesar or Antonym. Book 1, Reputations 1. 3 Cleopatra & Rome pig. 1 1) – ‘Plutarch does not preclude there being genuine feeling between Antonym and Cleopatra. ‘ ‘The Roman world did not value romantic love. ‘ ‘It was Antonym infatuation of self-indulgence and lack of self-control. Another comparison between the Roman sources and the film, is the manor of Cleopatra death and the leading up to it. (Horace, Ode 1. 37 reading 1 . 2) describes Cleopatra ‘did not have a woman’s fear. ‘ ‘She did not wish to cease to be queen. ‘ And ‘Fiercer in the death she chose. In the film Cleopatra says to Octavia, ‘When I am ready to die, I will die. ‘ She also gives a half smile when Octavia walks towards her touching his sword, indicating she has no fear of death. Both the sources and film portray her defeat and suicide as a ‘proud triumph. ‘ In Roman depictions Cleopatra is portrayed as a woman of wealth, intelligence, seduction and authority, with themes of manipulation and bewitchment. Her beauty and love is somewhat overlooked, being in contrast to the film where beauty, love and romance play a much more dominant role.
My tutor Bob Allen, noted, ‘Your writing in short sections tends to fragment your argument. ‘ So this is something I first worked on in the rewrite. To make it less fragmented I linked the themes into single paragraphs to help support my observations when summing up the points made at the end. Another issue was the depth of the discussion. Bob Allen noted, ‘Can we compare/contrast to work out how far? ‘ I needed to develop it closely, threatening the point I was trying to put across.
Doing this, I managed a clearer comparison between the contrasts and similarities. The final change was made to the conclusion. I had to ‘reconsider some of the terms in the list’. I made sure this time not to mix the Roman view with the film portrayal and instead note them down, Roman view first then film version, giving me a much stronger answer.