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Cleopatra is neither a scheming politcian nor a wanton whore, but rather a lady in love...

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kandwalana | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 27, 2010 at 5:58 PM via web

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Cleopatra is neither a scheming politcian nor a wanton whore, but rather a lady in love in Antony and Cleopatra.  Comment.

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akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 27, 2010 at 9:18 PM (Answer #1)

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I think that there are several conditions within the statement that can be debated.  In my mind, the first is that the characteristics offered are all mutually exclusive.  That is to say that Cleopatra could not be a "scheming politician" as well as being a "lady in love."  In the end, I think that part of what makes her such a compelling literary figure is that she is so complex.  She defies simple and monistic characterizations just as she defies age.  Cleopatra is depicted in such a multi-dimensional manner that one is not really able to define in her in one strict characterization.  She does demonstrate herself to be a scheming politician when she makes the decision to call back her ships from what seems to be a loss.  She proves herself to be in love with Antony in much of what she does and is consumed with her own appetites at many moments.  In the end, perhaps the statement is not right in its hope for singularity, but rather has valid aspects of each characterization within it.

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