What do the Representations of
Cleopatra in Film and on Television
(as shown on the DVD Video 'Cleopatra')
tell us about her how her reputation changed over time?
Discuss with reference two or three representation.
Historical Cleopatra is completely unrelated to her depiction in 20th century media. Her depiction is based on the social/political position of women in western society. She is in fact the last of the Macedonian Rulers of Egypt. Born in 69BC died in 30BC, famous for her love affairs with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony.
The 1963 film presents extravagance, opulence. The costumes worn were lavish and the scene entering Rome portrays not the decadence of her life style, but that of the film production. Furthermore, the 1963 film compared to the 1917 film which showed more hieroglyphics on the walls and columns which was the stereotypic view of ancient egyptian life. The budget of later adaptations would have been a factor. Nowadays television provides a much easier and cost effective form of production.
The other considerations for the films and television programs over this period of time is the view of the female in the world as a whole. What difference do we see in the power of the woman Theda Bara at a time when females in the early 1900 were campaigning for the vote? When they were taking the main role in factories, and on land in all forms of manufacturing, during the two world wars. We then come to the first of what can be called the modern women with Elizabeth Taylor. It could be argued that she is how we imagine Cleopatra to be. When you look at the dvd case and the book of reputations presented to us for the first assignment, are they not the eyes of Elizabeth Taylor? (AA100 Reputations Book). Then on to Xena in which we have a black Cleopatra in the television adaptation, we see the female turn warrior but still very feminine. – (AA100 DVD).
The view in the 1917 film I feel shows her as a dippy, demure and in some ways...
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