Did Films Reflect or Shape Gender Roles in the Second World War? Part 4

The question of female identity inevitably encouraged both film-makers and audiences to explore ideas of masculinity, in particular the relationship between heroism and men in non-combatant roles. If men had to fight to prove their masculinity, what did that mean … Continue reading

Did Films Reflect or Shape Gender Roles in the Second World War? Part 3

A crucial concern of the wartime discourse on gender was that of duty versus desire, explored in the melodramas and Brief Encounter. L. K. Gordon of Leicester wrote to the Leicester Evening Mail in 1943 stating that ‘the war had … Continue reading

Did Films Reflect or Shape Gender Roles in the Second World War? Part 2

The anxious discourse on female mobilisation during the war also concerned the perceived necessity of protecting the femininity of these women. Gender distinctions rest largely on appearance, thus “these trouser-clad androgynies destabilised the polarisation upon which gendered identity normally rested”[1]. … Continue reading

Did Films Reflect or Shape Gender Roles in the Second World War? Part 1

Categories of social difference are identified by how they juxtapose each other. Women are women because they are not men; masculine is masculine because it is not feminine. Gender is perceived in binary terms and this relationship is highlighted in … Continue reading

Every Academy Award Winner For Actress In A Leading Role

To celebrate the 87th Academy Awards, here is a complete list of every woman who has taken home the Oscar for Leading Actress over the years. Katharine Hepburn holds the record for this category, having taken home four Academy Awards for Leading Actress … Continue reading

Why Was Murder Preferrable to Marriage in the Case of Cleopatra?

It is the year 308 BC; fifteen years after the death of Alexander the Great. During this time, his empire has been unofficially divided between his closest companions: Ptolemy, a Macedonian general and one of Alexander’s oldest friends, has control of Egypt; the one-eyed general Antigonus has Asia Minor and Syria, and Cassander – son of the late great general Antipater – has forcefully taken over as regent of Macedonia and the Greek city states. This arrangement, however, is far from secure and intermittent, bloody war rages throughout Alexander’s lands.

In Sardis, the capital city of Lydia (situated in modern-day Turkey), Cleopatra of Macedon plots her escape. She has been living as a guest-prisoner with Antigonus for more than ten years. She is a princess – the full sister of Alexander the Great. By now she is about fifty years old. Most of her family is dead – mother, father, brother and half-siblings all having met untimely deaths. Somehow, word has reached her that Ptolemy, ruler of Egypt and a childhood friend of her brother’s, has asked for her hand in marriage. Despite having rejected the proposals of many of Alexander’s other generals, she accepts. This is where we find her, attempting to make her way south to Egypt.

She never makes it. Antigonus’s men find her and she is brought back to Sardis, imprisoned and killed. The question is, why?

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