Caesar and Cleopatra

by George Bernard Shaw

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What are the main characteristics of the characters in Caesar and Cleopatra by G.B. Shaw?

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Caesar and Cleopatra by George Bernard Shaw was in many ways intended as a "prequel" to William Shakespeare's Anthony and Cleopatra, especially in the way the Julius Caesar promises to send Marc Anthony to Cleopatra and Cleopatra is portrayed as eagerly anticipating Anthony's arrival. Shaw, like Shakespeare, derived his plot mainly from Plutarch. The originality of the play lies in the characters.

Julius Caesar is portrayed as a middle aged man, wise, just, and made somewhat cynical by experience. Cleopatra is seen as a silly and superstitious teenager, granted too much power too young, and using it thoughtlessly. Rather than the characters relating to each other romantically, Caesar acts as a mentor to Cleopatra, and we can see her begin to mature slightly during the play.

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