Tma Aa100 Cleopatra, Cezanne

Assignment   01

Part 01 Cleopatra

Carefully read the following extract several times. Compare and contrast the ways in which the passage below attempts to discredit Antony with the ways this is done in the speech attributed to Octavian by Cassius Dio (in Reading 1.1 of Book 1, Chapter 1).

The impression of Cleopatra that Dio is giving us presents a woman that is a very ambitious female ruler that managed to control two of the most influential politicians of ancient Rome (Julius Caesar and Mark Antony) and she committed suicide because of the third one (Augustus). Dio suggests that she managed to transform a brilliant politician and a skilled soldier into a ‘puppet that was not able to lead his country and people’. The negative influence that Cleopatra holds over Antony persists throughout the whole passage. Dio shows that Antony is at Cleopatra’s feet and he is capable of leaving everything just to get closer to her wherever she goes (Assignment booklet, 2013, p 19).
Even in death, Antony asked to be brought to her to be buried in Egypt, not in Rome, in the country where he lived and died.
By contrast, Cleopatra, when summoned to Antony, she seems to act on her own terms. She decides to display all her power and riches so that her arrival is impressive as her influence over Antony with whom she forms an alliance that will, in the end, cost her her life (Plutarch’s Life of Antony, pp 9, AA 100 Book 1 Reputation, Milton Keynes, The Open University, 2013).
The Ancient Roman world did not value any passionate feelings that may have existed between two people as they valued more one’s ability to succeed in life. Political life in the time of Antony was a difficult one. Any politician had to be prepared to defend his reputation all the time and had to find ways to discredit the opponent’s one (Plutarch, Life of Antony, pp 9, reprinted in AA 100, Milton Keynes, The Open University, 2013). On one hand as Dio says, Octavian was trying to discredit Antony by...