Cleopatra and Doña Marina come from distinct time periods in world history— respectively, the declining Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt and the age of the Spanish conquest. Literature has been inspired by these historical figures, creating various interpretations of this Egyptian queen and Aztec translator. Fundamentally, these two personalities share similarities: both women fall in love with foreign invaders and harness influence in the political arena of their times. For this, they must rectify their romantic desires with loyalty for their home countries. The plays Todos los gatos son pardos by Carlos Fuentes and Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare reveal this concept. The dialogue between the two plays creates two distinct worlds, or “stages,” (of the invader and the invaded) that Cleopatra and Marina embody. This essay investigates how both women navigate the cultural clash between the invader and the invaded in order to harmonize the tension between romantic and patriotic desires. Comparatively, the Aztec and Egyptian stages can be defined as settings of novelty, fluidity, and excess, while the Roman and Spanish stages emphasize rigidity, logic, and dogmatism. Considering how these individuals embody and defy these characteristics of the stages they come from, this literary and analytical comparison demonstrates that romantic and patriotic loyalty cannot be synchronized. The discrete relationship between these concepts, as examined in both dramas, destabilizes the cultural identity of both figures in such a way that they become defeated and fatalistic.
Lawton, Jon Paul, "Marina y Cleopatra en el escenario teatral" (2021). World Languages and Cultures Student Papers and Posters. 4.
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