*Egypt. North African country in which all the play’s action takes place. When Caesar led his Roman troops there in pursuit of his enemy Pompey, he got involved in a power struggle between Egypt’s Queen Cleopatra and her brother and nominal coregent, Ptolemy. Caesar took Cleopatra’s side, and this civil war forms a secondary conflict in Shaw’s play.
*Alexandria. Egypt’s capital city, in which the play’s second through fourth acts are set during the six-month period when Ptolemy’s forces were besieging Caesar and Cleopatra. In the play, Caesar uses this time to teach Cleopatra how to be a more effective leader. Shaw’s description of Cleopatra’s royal palace in Alexandria compares its throne room favorably to the home of a rich British industrialist.
Act 3 opens on the quay in front of Cleopatra’s palace, which the Roman guards will not let her leave. In order to reach Caesar, Cleopatra has herself rolled into a carpet and smuggled by boat to the harbor’s lighthouse, where Caesar has his headquarters. Afterward, Caesar and Cleopatra live together within the palace. The play’s final act returns to the quay, where the victorious Caesar says his good-byes to Cleopatra.
*Lighthouse. Fortress guarding the entrance to Alexandria’s harbor in which Caesar and his soldiers station themselves in act 3 so they can guard their...
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