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If an imaginary spectrum were constructed and if Octavius Caesar were placed at one end of the spectrum, Antony would waver, swaying and shifting in the middle, and Cleopatra would be found at the other end of the spectrum. Not only is she queen of Egypt, she is the epitome of Egypt itself. She represents all those qualities that Octavius and the practical Romans have denied themselves — enjoyment, playfulness, sensuality, and passion. But like all the other major characters, Cleopatra is more than an allegory of personality traits. She is a full-dimensional, complex human being. In his portrayal of this woman, Shakespeare has taken the view of her as presented in countless legends and blended in many subtler features. She is no longer the one-dimensional, near-mythical queen of a mysterious and erotic country.
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