Kleopatra i eros w Żywocie Antoniusza. O nadinterpretacji dzieła Plutarcha


  • Lucyna Kostuch




Plutarch, Cleopatra, Life of Antony, eros


Cleopatra and Eros in Plutarch’s Antonius. On overinterpretation of Plutarch’s work: Historians, writers and artists who wanted to pay homage to Cleopatra once again, referred to and still refer to Plutarch’s Life of Antony, first and foremost. It can seem that this main, if not the only ancient work, being quite a compact story about the Egyptian queen, has been ultimately interpreted in numerous review editions and biographies of Cleopatra. However, Plutarch’s Cleopatra has not been analysed as a separate work — excerpts from Life of Antony have always been combined with other sources in order to obtain a single picture. And in belles-lettres, the work of this ancient moralist have been exploited for centuries in such a way that it is no longer Plutarch’s property. Literary works from different epochs, in the form of interpretations, with Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra at the head of the list, have distorted the ancient moralist’s message. It turns out that when we reject Shakespeare’s prism that we usually use when examining Plutarch’s Cleopatra and we start to analyse Antony’s biography only in the context of other works written by the moralist of Chaeronea, considering them to be a peculiar comment on Life of Antony, we are able to see a completely different picture to the one we are used to. Divine powers, present on the pages of the ancient work and implicating gods and people in love and desire do not have access to the queen. However, everything suggests that in the case of “the romance of all time” we can see in the moralist’s work something he did not write at all. We refer to Life of Antony and we envisage the character of Cleopatra described by Shakespeare and his successors.