By Maha Noor Elahi
This monologue was written for a Drama Club event, Kaleidoscope. It had always been my dream to perform Cleopatra’s role in any given chance, and so I did! It was a joy to be Queen Cleopatra for about 5 minutes!
So they say I’m strong as a tigress, wild as a carnivorous plant, vicious as a cold desert night. Beware, they say! She’s poison in flames! Her dignity is destructive! Her charm is obnoxious! She’s a witch…she’s a serpent…she’s a siren…she’s no angel …she’s not noble..she’s so heartless & cruel …she only cares to rule!
OOOOOHHH!! (falls down crying)
For God’s sake give me a break!!
I’m a woman!
I’m a queen who refused to take orders from politicians to serve their own greedy needs and interests! (Her tone softens) Of course, I do take orders when they work in my favor and for my country’s interests. But they kept forgetting that I will not be told where I can go and where I cannot go!
Starts singing: “And don’t tell me what to do and don’t tell me what to say! And when I go out with you, don’t put me on display! You don’t own me! Don’t try to change me in any way! Don’t tie me down cause I’d never stay”
A feminist at heart I was…long before all of you girls were born! But …honestly, it took me a long time to be that dominant!
Imagine being born with no choices! At the age of 18, I found myself a queen & my 10 year old brother, Ptolemy XIII, a king! Oh imagine that! Two children ruling!! Quite an amusing game, eh? I Would have bought all the Channel bags and Christian Louboutin shoes if I were in your time! Nah! Trust me, it wasn’t much fun, for I had to marry by brother just because it was “customary” in Egypt at that era! But it was only temporary; I yielded to conquer!
Sharing the monarchy with my younger brother…(rolling her eyes) oh…deep in my heart I resented the idea! No Ptolemaic traditions could prevent me from ruling Egypt alone! Being the subordinate ruler just because I’m a female wasn’t really my idea of being queen! But lucky me, that little lad couldn’t last long anyway….don’t look at me…I didn’t do it…I didn’t kill him…I just cooperated with his enemy, Caesar, and the poor boy just escaped and drowned into the Nile!
Thanks to Julius Caesar, the throne became mine! In fact, now I have two countries under my thumb; Egypt and Rome! Just in case you haven’t heard, the Roman dictator, Caesar was madly in love with me that he made a golden statue of me and positioned it in front of the Venus Genetrix in Rome in spite of his people who hated my guts! It was a thrill to see it when I visited Rome in summer 46 BC. Oh but misfortunes seem to love me! A while later Caesar was assassinated before he would agree to admit our child, Caesarion! Oh Caesar! That jerk!
(sarcastically)Yeah… there were jerks at my time, too!
He never wanted me to be more than a mistress!
They all saw me as a seductive mistress, but they seldom remember my brilliance…the nine languages that I could speak fluently…my mathematical and business skills…
All what I got from Caesar’s people was condemn! They suspected me killing him! Imagine that! Me killing a man? (pun not intended)
Never mind! I had always known I could do better than an old guy who’s about 30 years older than me!
I wouldn’t allow such a “small” incident like Caesar’s death to ruin my plans and threaten my country! I had to
show my loyalty to Antony; he was young and strong ..but never my match!
With my extraordinary charm and wits, he could never resist me! He instantly fell in love with me and I gave him two children; two boys who will inherit him. Together we ruled Egypt and led it to prosperity, but the Romans hated our partnership..and under the leadership of Octavian, they defeated our army. My poor Antony couldn’t stand defeat! He killed himself with his sword like any desperate soldier would do!
And what’s to become of me? What’s to become of my children? What’s to become of a wife and a queen without her husband and ally?
Octavian wanted me to be a slave, not a queen ..not an ally…not a neighboring country …not a partner..but a slave! He even ordered to imprison me and keep me guarded so I wouldn’t harm myself or take my life! He wanted to humiliate me for the rest of my life!
But never! The great Egyptian queen and the last Pharaoh wasn’t destined to be demeaned but to be remembered!