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Empowerment of Women through the Film Cleopatra Essay

Decent Essays
One main message Cleopatra is presenting to society in the 1960s is the empowerment of women. Although Cleopatra is depicted in many different ways in other films and plays, the 1963 film portrays her as a ruler who tried to bridge gaps between men and women. She overthrew her brother’s power and exiled him and Cleopatra wanted to be seen as equal by both Caesar and Antony. This reflects the women’s movement of the 1960s when women mainly stayed at home and took care of children. On December 14, 1961, John F. Kennedy established the President’s Commission on the Status of Women. Led by Eleanor Roosevelt til her death on 1962, this board had twenty members that examined equality of women in school, at work, and by the law.…show more content…
Although melodramatic at times, Cleopatra is in fact historically accurate. Joseph L. Mankiewicz, the screen playwright and director, wanted to be as precise as possible in his four hour long epic. However, the most accurate depiction comes from Plutarch, a Greek philosopher, writer, and historian who eventually took Roman citizenship. He lived 45 to 120 C.E. and is well known for his work entitled Parallel Lives which was a series of biographies on Greek and Roman statesmen and military leaders. These biographies were set up as pairs in which a Greek and Roman were paired together. Twenty-three pairs as well as four unpaired leaders were all written about in which Plutarch described their triumphs and downfalls. Plutarch wrote about Cleopatra’s relationship with Caesar and also with Antony in the two Roman leader’s biographies. Nearly all scenes in the film are depicted in these biographies. He even received writing credit in the film due to the vast amount of information used from his accounts. Plutarch describes both Caesar and Antony as great military leaders, but Antony was the one who got carried away with Cleopatra. Caesar had a reasonable relationship with Cleopatra and they were equals whereas Antony was not rational and was too overcome by his love for her to think properly. Scenes from Cleopatra that were accurately depicted by Plutarch include Pompey’s head given to Caesar by Ptolemy XIII as a gift, the queen delivered to Caesar in a rug,
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