Cleopatra’s Vision |
"Give me my robe, put on my crown, I have
Immortal longings in me."
Did you know that Cleopatra killed herself?
In Egypt, death by snakebite secures immortality. It’s a rule.
Until recently, well, yesterday, most of what I knew about Cleopatra was from Shakespeare, and admittedly I haven’t read The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra, save a few excerpts. Thus, I didn’t know How it Ends. She’s such an obvious historical figure: Her popularity made her common and uninteresting in my eyes.
That has changed.
What does a young queen think before she allows the Asp to strike?
What will it be like?
Life goes strange, backward… Rome
now rises in the west, Egypt sets to
the east—O eastern star! This world
is no longer livable.
A new vision, wherein I see instants
for an hour: Ra’s last lights blaze
upon me in the dusk, blind me—
His unblinking stare, white-hot, it is
noon on the Sahara in his inverted
eye—Our day-lives, bound, grow
old together—Then sleep. Everything
sleeps. Even the sands are tired.
Shhh… Do you hear the silent-dark?
All calm. Egypt waits for Osiris’ call.
"With thy sharp teeth this knot intrinsicate
Of life at once untie: poor venomous fool
Be angry, and dispatch."
Always a serpent with us girls, isn’t it.
*All italics are Act V, scene ii, The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare
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