Depictions of Cleopatra Analytical Essay by Nicky

Depictions of Cleopatra
This paper looks at how Cleopatra has been portrayed in history and in literature.
# 146809 | 3,300 words | 10 sources | APA | 2011 | US

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In this article, the writer discusses Cleopatra and notes that while she is perhaps the first and most famous female celebrity in history, her status as a person is hardly a thing of recorded fact. The writer points out that hers is an image drawn to us by Liz Taylor in celluloid, William Shakespeare in theatricality and stoic ancient sculptures, inanimate features in a British Museum. The writer maintains that on one hand an exemplar of the earliest feminist potential of powerful women and on the other a deceitful temptress who used her womanly charms to exploit the weaknesses of men, these two versions of Cleopatra are the products of two decidedly divergent purposes. The writer discusses that though there are surviving views of Cleopatra, especially in Egyptian history and feminist teaching, as an important and effective leader, with certain aspects of global history affirming such ideas, they are often pushed to the periphery of a characterization which is more consistent with the arguably misogynistic depictions in literature.

From the Paper:

"When one then considers the history of a prominent woman, an even greater alertness to an opportunistic subjectivity in historiographical perspective must be employed. Multiple histories on one subject are usually the result of cultural, political and ideological perspective. This is to say that the stories which survive the obscuring of passing time are most often those told by the victor and, moreover, these stories will be reshaped as they age as per the evolving purposes of their maintenance. So with regard to the treatment of women in historiographical review, it is often synonymous with the actual treatment of women throughout history. More often then not, prominent feminine historical icons have been those which exist in our annals in spite of prevailing sociological trends toward a patriarchal order. This standard may either play a substantial role in the notoriety of the figure, with her exploits against the conventional view of women drawn explicitly in her story, or it may exist in subtextual premises which have come to define her legend. The latter of these two cases is that which divides historians on the characterization of Cleopatra."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Ashmawy, A.K. (1995). Cleopatra: The Last Pharoah, B.C. 69-30. History of Alexandria. Online at <>
  • Burstein, S.M. (2004). The Reign of Cleopatra. Greenwood Publishing Group.
  • Cassius Dio. (1987). The Roman History: The Reign of Augustus. Penguin Classics.
  • Gadeken, S. (1999). Gender, Empire and Nation in Sarah Fielding's Lives of Cleopatra and Octavia. Journal Studies in English Literature, 1500-19 00, 39(3).
  • Grant, M. (2004). Cleopatra-A Biography. Booksales.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Depictions of Cleopatra (2011, January 17) Retrieved April 21, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Depictions of Cleopatra" 17 January 2011. Web. 21 April. 2021. <>