Modern Interpritations of Cleopatra from Tv and Film

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Assignment 01: Part 1 Cleopatra, To what extend do Roman depictions of Cleopatra appear to have influenced how she has been depicted on TV and in film? Cleopatra’s portrayal in modern film and television has been heavily influenced by the Roman depictions of her. One of the themes in Roman accounts is the extravagance of Cleopatra. Plutarch illustrates her lavishness in an extremely detailed depiction of the meeting of Cleopatra and Anthony in Tarsus. Her dazzling arrival to the city on a barge, the highest deck covered in gold and perfume wafted from the sides, with herself draped in gold further illustrates her wealth to all those around her at the time. Because of the detail in the Roman account it has become a principal component of modern interpretations of her in film adaptations, as it easily conveys the sheer decadence of Cleopatra. (Trevor Fear, 2008 p. 11) In the 1967 movie Elizabeth Taylor’s portrayal continued to expand on the lavishness of Cleopatra, with “an array of fabulous outfits” (Trevor Fear, 2008 DVD transcript p.3), one of which was made out of 24 carat gold.( The movie was the most expensive movie made of the time and the scene of Cleopatra entering Rome cost over $1 million alone, in my opinion this illustrates the lengths the producers were willing to go to portray this extravagance. The second theme is that of a wicked temptress, a shrewd and cunning stateswoman who uses her womanly assets to manipulate and enchant her opponents. Cleopatra was despised by Roman writers because she was the complete opposite and an affront to the Roman way of life. Plutarch’s account of Anthony’s bewitchment by Cleopatra, where he illustrates Cleopatra manipulating Anthony by ignoring his letters, she arrived when and how she wanted to. I believe that this was the beginning of the end

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