Assignment 01

Part 1 Cleopatra

Choose one of the modern representations of Cleopatra in film or TV presented in
the module materials. How far is this consistent with Roman depictions of her in
Book 1, Chapter 1?

Part 2 Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus

Read the following passage from Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus. Discuss Marlowe’s
use of language in the passage and how it contributes to the characterisation of
Faustus and the Horse-Courser.

I have chosen 20th Century Fox's 1963 film, Cleopatra and this is mainly because this version of 'Cleopatra' unlike the other modern versions, is said to have "a plot which is based on the works of Plutarch and other prominent historians" (Cleopatra 1963, reviewed by Dragan Antulov, and therefore in my opinion, very nearly representing Cleopatra as per principal source.

Cleopatra has throughout the ages remained a powerful and famous historical figure primarily due to "her role in the bitter struggles in Roman history" (The Open University, The Arts Past and Present Book 1 Reputations, pg. 6) but also due to modern society's knack for using "her power as a symbol to be reinvented by each passing generation." (The Open University, The Arts Past and Present DVD, 2008).

In the 1963 film and through Elizabeth Taylor, we see Cleopatra as most beautiful and exceedingly charming and yet in Plutarch's account of her in his "Life of Antony", she wasn't as beautiful or as glamorous albeit the charming aspect of her depicted by Taylor seemed consistent with Plutarch's.   According to Plutarch, her beauty "was not of that incomparable kind which instantly captivates the beholder but the charm of her presence was irresistible" (The Open University, The Arts Past and Present Book 1, Reputations, pgs. 9 & 10).   This tells us that in modern society a major 'ingredient' a lady requires to qualify as powerful so much so as to be able to beguile and bring down prominent men ought not only be charm...