“A Gap in Nature”: Rewriting Cleopatra Through Antony and Cleopatra’s Cosmology

  • Livia Sacchetti
Part of the Queenship and Power book series (QAP)


This chapter investigates Shakespeare’s rewriting of Plutarch’s Cleopatra as crucial in his deconstruction and re-creation of her character. He uncovers the infinitely varied power that constituted her queenship, devising a new archetype of femininity, while liberating her from the need to be measured in relation to a male counterpart or the Roman gaze. The creation of two parallel images of the queen—the one that takes the stage and the imaginative one—generates the “gap in nature” that propels the action forward, engendering the tension between two dimensions—the frail one of mortals and the timeless one of legends. This tension stretches toward infinity (as defined by Levinas) and allows Cleopatra to script her own ending, consigning her vibrant agency to history’s subconscious.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Livia Sacchetti
    • 1
  1. 1.Independent scholarRomeItaly

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