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Shakespeare Connected - Ageless Cleopatra

Shakespeare's Source

While Shakespeare probably didn’t leave England, he was aware of the great civilizations of ancient Egypt as well as Cleopatra’s relationship with the Roman Empire.

The playwright’s main source for Antony and Cleopatra was the Parallel Lives of the Greeks and Romans, by the first-century Greek biographer Plutarch. Shakespeare didn’t read the original Greek, but used Thomas North’s English translation (1579), itself translated from French.

Plutarch presents Cleopatra as a powerful woman and describes her as “apparelled and attired like the goddess Venus”.


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