Essay by WynterrosessCollege, UndergraduateA, April 2004

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Cleopatra, is one of the most famous faces, of the past. Even during her reign as the Queen of Egypt many plays, poems, music, and art were made in her honor. She lived between 69-30 B.C., her reign as Queen of Egypt was 51-30 B.C. Many famous plays and operas were made over her love affair with Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony. In many ways Cleopatra changed the course of history by being a woman. She lived in a time where women didn't really play a role in political life. This made her fascinating for people all over the world, who got word of this powerful woman who was ruler of Egypt and almost the world. Scribes would sing of this enchanted, romantic, mysterious, powerful, Queen, who was ruling the far off lands. When word spread poets wrote of her deeds and she was made to look like a Goddess.

One of Shakespeare's most straightforward plays was Antony and Cleopatra. The plot has its own inherent dramatic thrust, and the characters, however fascinating, are without the anxiety that most people feel so it affects other plays. The play was approached from one particular aspect - the relationship of the play to both the historical setting and to a modern context in which that historical setting is now seen. In relating the audience to the play Shakespeare added a modern spin along with Historical facts. Antony and Cleopatra is unusual in the relationship between a modern audience or reader and its sources. Shakespeare bases the play of Antony and Cleopatra on the sources available to him. These sources are basically the same as those available to us for the events surrounding Cleopatra's life. Although historical research into contemporary Roman society has revealed a wealth of information not available to Shakespeare's...