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An imagined depiction of Cleopatra |  Source: Shutterstock
Source: An imagined depiction of Cleopatra | Source: Shutterstock

39 Iconic Cleopatra Quotes: The Art of Power & Seduction

Dayna Remus
Nov 09, 2022
03:20 P.M.
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Cleopatra, to this day, is lauded to be one of the most bewitching and intriguing rulers to walk this earth. Learn more about this almost mythological woman by reading 39 quotes via fictional portrayals of her.

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The Egyptian ruler, Cleopatra, ruled during the Ptolemaic dynasty. She was born in approximately 69 or 70 BC and then died later on August 30 BCE. While ruling, she was involved in a romantic relationship with Julius Caesar, whom she claimed was the father of her son.

After Ceaser was assassinated, she turned to his heir, Mark Antony, and engaged in a romance with him; the two eventually married. This marriage angered Octavian, or Ceaser Augustus, as he is more widely known, as Antony had already committed himself to his sister.

This eventually led to him convincing the Roman Empire to declare war on the wed couple, ultimately defeating them. Antony and Cleopatra's lives then ended tragically at their own hands.

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This story, as well as many others that Cleopatra lived through during her reign, has inspired many creative works throughout history. These works include the 1963 movie "Cleopatra" starring Elizabeth Taylor, and a play by William Shakespeare.

Read 39 quotes from these creative works, which imagine the words that could have been uttered by this historical ruler.

 Cleopatra’s quote from Antony and Cleopatra" by William Shakespeare: "My honor was not yielded but conquered merely." | Image: AmoDays

Cleopatra’s quote from Antony and Cleopatra" by William Shakespeare: "My honor was not yielded but conquered merely." | Image: AmoDays

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Fiery Cleopatra Quotes

"And make death proud to take us." — Cleopatra, "Antony and Cleopatra" by William Shakespeare

"I have wasted so many on so many men." — Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in "Cleopatra" (1963)

"How dare you and the rest of your barbarians set fire to my library! … neither you nor any other barbarian has the right to destroy one human thought!" — Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in "Cleopatra" (1963)

"Both! And damn you for not understanding either!" — Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in "Cleopatra" (1963)

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"You can do what you want with your time." — Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in "Cleopatra" (1963)

 Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in "Cleopatra" (1963):  "A woman too must make the barren land fruitful. She must make life grow where there was no life." | Image: AmoDays

Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in "Cleopatra" (1963): "A woman too must make the barren land fruitful. She must make life grow where there was no life." | Image: AmoDays

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"Just as the Mother Nile feeds and replenishes the Earth, I am the Nile. I will bear many sons. Isis has told me. My breasts are full of love and life. My hips are rounded and well apart. Such women, they say, have sons." — Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in "Cleopatra" (1963)

"A woman too must make the barren land fruitful. She must make life grow where there was no life." — Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in "Cleopatra" (1963)

Cleopatra's Quotes on Power and Authority

"You have not been dismissed!" — Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in "Cleopatra" (1963)

 Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in "Cleopatra" (1963):  "I asked it of Julius Caesar. I demand it of you!" | Image: AmoDays

Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in "Cleopatra" (1963): "I asked it of Julius Caesar. I demand it of you!" | Image: AmoDays

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"You are now... dismissed." — Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in "Cleopatra" (1963)

"I shall have to insist that you mind what you say. I am Isis. I am worshipped by millions who believe it. You are not to confuse what I am with the so-called divine origin which every Roman general seems to acquire together with his shield. It was, uh, Venus you chose to be descended from, wasn't it?" — Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in "Cleopatra" (1963)

"Your destiny is no longer just yours. It's mine too." — Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in "Cleopatra" (1963)

"[Kicks cushion from throne to Caesar, to get him to kneel] You have such bony knees." — Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in "Cleopatra" (1963)

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"You come before me as a suppliant." — Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in "Cleopatra" (1963)

 Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in "Cleopatra" (1963):  "You're not supposed to look at me. No one is." | Image: AmoDays

Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in "Cleopatra" (1963): "You're not supposed to look at me. No one is." | Image: AmoDays

"I will not be triumphed over." — Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in "Cleopatra" (1963)

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"I asked it of Julius Caesar. I demand it of you!" — Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in "Cleopatra" (1963)

"My honor was not yielded but conquered merely." — Cleopatra, "Antony and Cleopatra" by William Shakespeare

 Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in "Cleopatra" (1963): "I will not be triumphed over." | Image: AmoDays

Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in "Cleopatra" (1963): "I will not be triumphed over." | Image: AmoDays

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"On-your-knees!" — Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in "Cleopatra" (1963)

"You're not supposed to look at me. No one is." — Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in "Cleopatra" (1963)

"I will not be told where I can go and where I cannot go!" — Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in "Cleopatra" (1963)

"I do. You will therefore assume the position of a suppliant before this throne. You will kneel." — Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in "Cleopatra" (1963)

Poignant and Poetic Cleopatra Quotes

"All strange and terrible events are welcome, but comforts we despise." Cleopatra, "Antony and Cleopatra" by William Shakespeare

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 Cleopatra’s quote from "Antony and Cleopatra" by William Shakespeare: "The odds is gone, and there is nothing left remarkable beneath the visiting moon." | Image: AmoDays

Cleopatra’s quote from "Antony and Cleopatra" by William Shakespeare: "The odds is gone, and there is nothing left remarkable beneath the visiting moon." | Image: AmoDays

"My salad days, when I was green in judgment, cold in blood." — Cleopatra, "Antony and Cleopatra" by William Shakespeare

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"Celerity is never more admired than by the negligent." — Cleopatra, "Antony and Cleopatra" by William Shakespeare

"There are never enough hours in the days of a queen, and her nights have too many." — Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in "Cleopatra" (1963)

"Be it known that we, the greatest, are misthought." — Cleopatra, "Antony and Cleopatra" by William Shakespeare

"The odds is gone, and there is nothing left remarkable beneath the visiting moon." — Cleopatra, "Antony and Cleopatra" by William Shakespeare

Cleopatra Quotes on Love

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 Cleopatra’s quote from "Antony and Cleopatra" by William Shakespeare: "Eternity was in our lips and eyes” | Image: AmoDays

Cleopatra’s quote from "Antony and Cleopatra" by William Shakespeare: "Eternity was in our lips and eyes” | Image: AmoDays

"How strangely awake I feel. As if living had been just a long dream." — Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in "Cleopatra" (1963)

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"Give me my robe. Put on my crown. I have Immortal longings in me. Now no more the juice of Egypt's grape shall moist this lip." — Cleopatra, "Antony and Cleopatra" by William Shakespeare

"Nay, pray you, seek no color for your going, But bid farewell and go. When you sued to stay, Then was the time for words. No going then! Eternity was in our lips and eyes, Bliss in our brows' bent, none our parts so poor But was a race of heaven. They are so still, Or thou, the greatest soldier of the world, Art turned the greatest liar." — Cleopatra, "Antony and Cleopatra" by William Shakespeare

Powerful musings from the Egyptian Goddess

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"And I find what you're wearing most becoming. Greek, isn't it?" — Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in "Cleopatra" (1963)

 Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in "Cleopatra" (1963): "…you have come back chained to Octavian like a slave. And with such an exquisite set of chains." | Image: AmoDays

Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in "Cleopatra" (1963): "…you have come back chained to Octavian like a slave. And with such an exquisite set of chains." | Image: AmoDays

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"One is so limited when one travels by ship." — Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in "Cleopatra" (1963)

"Antony shall be brought drunken forth, and I shall see some squeaking Cleopatra boy, my greatness I’th’posture of a whore." — Cleopatra, "Antony and Cleopatra" by William Shakespeare

"O happy horse, to bear the weight of Antony!" — Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in "Cleopatra" (1963)

"Catullus doesn't approve of you. Why haven't you had him killed?" — Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in "Cleopatra" (1963)

"So softly spoken, so virtuous! She sleeps, I hear, fully-clothed!" — Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in "Cleopatra" (1963)

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 Cleopatra’s quote from "Antony and Cleopatra" by William Shakespeare: "And make death proud to take us." | Image: AmoDays

Cleopatra’s quote from "Antony and Cleopatra" by William Shakespeare: "And make death proud to take us." | Image: AmoDays

"We've gotten off to a bad start. I've done nothing but rub you the wrong way." — Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in "Cleopatra" (1963)

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"The corridors are dark, gentlemen, but you mustn't be afraid. I am with you." — Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in "Cleopatra" (1963)

"…you have come back chained to Octavian like a slave. And with such an exquisite set of chains." — Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in "Cleopatra" (1963)

"And I have always known" — Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in "Cleopatra" (1963)

 Cleopatra’s quote from "Antony and Cleopatra" by William Shakespeare: "Be it known that we, the greatest, are misthought." | Image: AmoDays

Cleopatra’s quote from "Antony and Cleopatra" by William Shakespeare: "Be it known that we, the greatest, are misthought." | Image: AmoDays

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Beyond the fact that Shakespeare, arguably the most acclaimed writer in the English language, wrote a play using Cleopatra's story, the film made about her was also of great significance.

This was not only because it starred Elizabeth Taylor but also because, still, with the current rising costs of film-making, it remains one of the most expensive films made in history.

If you'd like to continue digging into the psyches of powerful women, read these 61 quotes from the highly successful singer Adele.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org.

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