Cleopatra and Antony Thesis

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Cleopatra and Antony

The daughter of the Macedonian King Ptolemy XII Auletes, Cleopatra VII, remained in history as one of those clever women rulers who used their intelligence and physical attributes to insure her throne as Egyptian pharaoh and to leave a lineage of kings. Not only did she use her power to stay on the Egyptian throne, but she also dreamed of ruling over Egypt and Rome united in a single empire. She became the co-ruler of Egypt in 51 BC, at the age of 18 and then reigned alone until her death, in 30 BC.

Originally, "the line had been founded by Alexander's general Ptolemy, who became King Ptolemy I Soter of Egypt. Cleopatra was of Macedonian descent and had little, if any, Egyptian blood" (Cleopatra VII Biography). Although she died relatively young, at the age of 39, all her life she sought to bring the Egyptian empire back its former glory and assure a lineage to rule over it. Unlike the other Ptolemaic rulers before her, she adopted the language and the religion of the empire, just as any other Egyptian pharaoh centuries before. Not only did she master Egyptian, according to Plutarch, she was also able to speak with many other people from the surrounding areas: "to most of them she spoke herself, as to the Ethiopians, Troglodytes, Hebrews, Arabians, Syrians, Medes, Parthians, and many others, whose language she had learnt" (Plutarch).

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Cleopatra's intellectual capacities were far beyond the average and her intelligence made her a skilful opponent and a fearful enemy. Although the Egyptian custom at the time her father died demanded that any female ruler shared the throne with a male relative, she used her ability and thirst for power to push away her brother / husbands and finally claim the Egyptian throne for herself. Her affair with Julius Caesar was destined to reinforce her power and give her the support of the powerful Roman Empire.

Thesis on Cleopatra and Antony Assignment

Julius Caesar's assassination in Rome did not stop the Egyptian queen to go after her goals and she chose Mark Anthony to be her insurance on her way to rule over Egypt and prepare the throne for her inheritors. She did not appear to be stopped in her affair with Mark Anthony by the fact that he was one of the conspirators who took her lover's life. Beyond any romantic implications of her relationship with Mark Anthony she proved to be a shrewd ally for Rome, always pursuing her kingdom's interests and always prepared to use her power over men generally and over Mark Anthony, particularly. Plutarch emphasis Mark Anthony's lack of chances to resist a woman who was at the peak of her success in using both her intelligence and beauty: She had some faith in the words of Dellius, but more in her own attractions, which, having formerly recommended her to Caesar and the young Cnaeus Pompey, she did not doubt might prove yet more successful with Antony. Their acquaintance was with her when a girl, young, and ignorant of the world, but she was to meet Antony in the time of life when women's beauty is most splendid, and their intellects are in full maturity (Plutarch).

Her ability to read human nature and to find the weak spots of two of the most important Roman politicians of her time gave her the opportunity to become the mistress of Julius Caesar and immediately after his death, of Mark Anthony. Moreover, according to the historian Cassius Dio, upon Mark Anthony's death, she unsuccessfully tried to seduce Octavian.

The one she formed the most powerful bond with, was Mark Anthony. The alliance she made with Julius Caesar was based mainly on political reasons and had little to do with matters of the heart. She was young when she met Julius Caesar, in 48 BC and he was more than twice his age. Seven years later, in her best shape physically and intellectually, she conquered Mark Antony's heart. She saw her chance to become an equal partner in the battle to conquer new territories and joined forces with him.

Plutarch describes her "mis-en-scene" for the first encounter with Mark Antony like the mega-show created by very talented director, worthy of being presented by any of today's megastars. She used every mean she possessed to be sure that she gained not only a lover, but also a partner: "Antony was so captivated by her"... "he could yet suffer himself to be carried away by her to Alexandria, there to keep holiday, like a boy, in play and diversion, squandering and fooling away in enjoyments that most costly, as Antiphon says, of all valuables, time"(Plutarch). She become his lover, companion, partner in drinking, celebrating and playing jokes. Plutarch seems to describe two partners who were almost equal in everything. In spite of their relationship, Mark Antony would not marry her after his wife, Fulvia, died, but Octavia, Caesar's older sister.

After having avoided a destructive fight with Caesar, Mark Antony leaves again for Asia, but he also sends for Cleopatra whom he bestows with the most precious gifts: "at her arrival he made no small or trifling present, Phoenicia, Coele-Syria, Cyprus, great part of Cilicia, that side of Judaea which produces balm, that part of Arabia where the Nabathaeans extend to the outer sea; profuse gifts, which much displeased the Romans" (Plutarch).

On the other hand, these gifts described by Plutarch appeared to be more like an exchange for the financial support she provided for him in his Parthian campaign.

The partnership between Cleopatra and Antony took the form of a dynasty. Although he was still married to Octavia, they were said to have been married according to the Egyptians laws. For a brief moment, in 34 BC, Cleopatra saw her dream of restoring the Egyptian empire to its former glory almost come true. She, Mark Antony, her son from her affair with Julius Caesar and the three children Mark Antony and her had together were recognized as legal heirs to the throne.

Their glory would not last for long. Octavian started out a campaign to re-conquer those possessions that were considered as belonging to the Roman Empire.

Cleopatra's reasons for her actions while being together with Mark Antony might be partially due to cold political reasoning and partially to her feelings for the man, Mark Antony. Her intelligence and wise maneuvers did not, however, help her escape a cruel destiny. She became the last Egyptian pharaoh and her dream of ruling over a reestablished Egyptian empire was definitively destroyed after eleven years of sharing it with Mark Antony. According to Plutarch, her relationship with Mark Antony was very passionate and driven by love just as it was motivated by political reasons. According to Cassius Dio, she was mostly motivated in her relationship with Mark Antony by her desire to ensure her descendants the throne. Mark Antony may count as the most precious trophy of the queen woman who was ahead of her time in intellect and ways of expressing herself.

In spite of hr intelligence and knowledge, Cleopatra could not foresee that by letting her "husband" declare her children rightful heirs to the throne, she would awaken the Roman rage. The fire was, of course, kept by Mark Antony's legal wife and by her brother, Octavian. They will start a war that would eventually lead to the end of Antony and his Egyptian mistress and that of the Egyptian empire.

Her successful relationship with Caesar and the promising beginning with mark Antony allowed her to hope for having ensured a dynasty to rule over the Egyptian Empire restored to its former state. She can be regarded as a shrewd scruples obsessed with power politician who would do whatever it takes to stay on the throne, or she could be regarded… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Cleopatra and Antony" Thesis in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Cleopatra and Antony.  (2009, February 13).  Retrieved May 11, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Cleopatra and Antony."  13 February 2009.  Web.  11 May 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Cleopatra and Antony."  February 13, 2009.  Accessed May 11, 2021.