Assignment 01
Part 1 Cleopatra
Pick at least two, and no more than three, different representations of Cleopatra on the DVD Video ‘Cleopatra’. Discuss how different historical periods and social circumstances have produced different images of Cleopatra.
The many representations of Cleopatra from the 20th century until present day are numerous and varied. She has been portrayed on cinema and TV screens as a powerful, sensual and headstrong female and provided writers and artists with a vast amount of imagery. From the 1917 first major Hollywood film in which she was played by Theda Bara to the modern day interpretation of her in the 1999 film in which she is played by Leonor Varela ‘fighting in battle,’ (AA100, DVD1) displaying the fighting skills that consolidate her new image in Hollywood as a modern day female warrior queen. Yet what constantly remains in the many screen representations of this Hellenistic queen has been the portrayal of a woman through many screen reincarnations who has endured and become a powerful legend to rival any man.   I think the introduction could be cut a bit – and you need to be a bit more precise about which examples you are going to use.
Theda Bara’s portrayal of Cleopatra in the 1917 film was of an alluring, exotic sexual predator…..and was exploited by the studio with great gusto.’ (AA100, DVD1).This reflected the changing times in which women were becoming more independent after receiving the vote in many US states.   It can be perceived that ‘in an age of increasing female liberation, it depicted powerful women as dangerous, sexual manipulators’   (AA100, DVD1) as portrayed by the fact Bara tended to play women who ‘manipulated and abandoned married men’ (AA100, DVD1).
In the 1963 film   in which Cleopatra was played by Elizabeth Taylor the sensual female still remains yet she cleverly reinforces the image of a powerful stateswoman.  
This Cleopatra is more assertive than her predecessor and in doing so reflects the...