Cleopatra The Novel Essay

1632 words - 7 pages

The Memoirs Of Cleopatra A Novel By Margaret George St. Martin's Press, New York, 1997 First Edition Laura Rivera November 14, 2001 4th Period 1) "I shuddered. In the next Triumph, Arsinoe would walk in his footsteps, passing before us in defeat. The shame, the unendurable shame of it!" (p.253) Cleopatra at this point has gone through many difficulties during her short reign as queen in Egypt. One of the many things she has gone through is a civil war. Cleopatra's younger brother was pitted against her, and when it seemed like Cleopatra was going to lose, her sister Arsinoe also turned against her by joining the rebellion. At the end of the civil war, Cleopatra, with Julius ...view middle of the document...

" (p. 266) This quote is a very good way to explain Romans beyond great engineering, architecture, and conquest. The Romans were much more than just glamour and divinity. They had their dark side too- their sickly pleasure as death. This quote is stated by Cleopatra right before she leaves a so called "entertainment" that the Romans have put on. In this case, the Romans have built an awesome lake big enough to put real war ships in to depict a naval battle fought in Rome. The problem Cleopatra had, though, was not the fact that this was their choice of entertainment, but the fact that the people really would die while entertaining the public. The Romans actually had several events where people would play for their lives against animals and each other. There were races where sharp turns would knock over chariots causing their drivers to be thrown off and killed by pounding horse hooves that smashed their ribs or even heads in. When Cleopatra saw the naval battle, though, it pushed her over the edge as it would have for me. This new information I have learned about the Romans has shed some light on the subject of Roman ethics and morals. This quote shows how Romans feel that without death everything is bland. That is Roman death in the sunlight. But there are those who don't deserve the right to be glorified, so they kill them apart, away from mourning eyes, away from sympathy, and away from life. That is Roman death in the dark. 3) "O Roman law! If ever I saw the murderers of my children, I would forget all about the law, except the eternal one of vengeance for a dead child- the prerogative of a mother. Laws can go only so far, and at the crucial moment they fail us. They are a poor substitute for justice." (p. 70) When Cleopatra thinks this, she has just heard that a Roman magistrate turned over the men that killed his two sons to the Roman senate to be judged. Roman law forbids the magistrate from taking action although he easily could have. Cleopatra is surprised by his act that is in the strictest legality, and she thinks the above quote. I do not agree with her. She is acting with the instincts of a mother, but she is not acting justly. She believes that laws are poor substitutes for justice, but I think they are exactly the opposite. I believe they are justice. Without them there would be anarchy, and where would justice be then? It would be inexistent. Vengeance is sweet, and it may seem that vengeance is the only way a person may ever be happy when a child of theirs is killed. Vengeance is best fulfilled, though, when a person knows they acted better than the person who murdered their child. The only way to be better than the person is to act justly, and that is through obeying the law.4) "Without further thinking- which would have stopped me- I flung myself overboard. In the instant when I hang, poised, above that blue surface, I felt both terror and victory. And now the...

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