Continued from "The Restored Cleopatra", page 7 - From Cleopatra's bed, and her promise to bear him a son, the scene dissolves to Caesar's apartment. There, the chief members of Caesar's staff are anxious to return to Rome.
Men may wait for Caesar, as we do,
but the tide will not! The wind is
fair for Rome!
It will be fair again...
Four long months...our men become as
much Egyptian as they were Roman...
soft and lazy...barnacles grown on the
bottoms of our ships and ourselves...
urgent dispatches from Rome left
unopened much less unanswered - !
(he turns to Flavius)
Where is he? Where is Caesar?
Flavius stops polishing a piece of Caesar's armor and pantomimes...
I can't understand this tongue-less
idiot - Rufio, tell me his meaning...
Flavius' tongue was cut out by the
Nervii because he refused to betray
Caesar. His hearing, however, is
better than most...
[Here, just a line - but doesn't it speak volumes about Flavius? Doesn't this give you a greater appreciation and respect for him? Not to mention letting us know how Flavius became mute? Won't this information make you feel even more for the heartbroken, sobbing, Flavius at Caesar's funeral? But, deleting this information deprives us, once more, of the fuller, deeper, character empathy and development we were meant to experience.]
I want only to know where Caesar is...
With Queen Cleopatra. She sent for
him - to assist at a meeting of her
She - sent for him? To assist at a -
- and Caesar went at her bidding like
a dutiful court official? Has the
First Consul and Dictator of Rome at
last become a minor minister to the
Germanicus leaps to his feet, his hand to his sword. Agrippa turns to the challenge. Rufio rises:
Then, to Agrippa:)
You will ask Caesar that question
yourself. Or I will ask it for you,
in your name.
Caesar speaks from the door. He has entered in time to overhear Rufio's speech...
Was there something you wanted to
Caesar, my ships cannot wait any
longer! Twice now -
Your ships, Agrippa?
Agrippa is silent. Caesar looks at the others...
And the rest of you? Is there a
reason for this gathering?
We were summoned here by you, Caesar...
A pause. Caesar is ashamed and upset...
Then my deepest apologies. I cannot
understand how - but I quite simply
...nor can I remember why I summoned
Perhaps to plan our return to Rome - ?
The campaign in Asia Minor -
No. I am not yet ready to leave
Why not, Caesar? Our work is finished
Because I choose to remain -
- for the time being...
While the Persians grow stronger by
the hour! While the sons of Pompey
raise new armies in Africa and Spain -
Agrippa, be silent! It seems to me
that your work may very well be
finished here. You may sail for Rome,
if you like, whenever you like...
Agrippa regards him unwaveringly. He salutes formally and walks out. Caesar turns to the rest:
If any of you are inclined to follow
him, I suggest you do it now...
(they don't move)
Then once more, excuse my having kept
you so long for so short a meeting.
But it seems we did get something done
that perhaps needed doing...that's
all, thank you.
The officers salute and file out. Caesar crosses thoughtfully to Flavius. For a moment he watches as Flavius polishes the armor assiduously...
Polish it well - until it shines
like a mirror. Then stand it up
before me, so that I can see myself -
the reflection of Caesar...
[The intention here is not one of ego. As will be touched upon with greater clarity in the next scene, Caesar is having concerns about his reluctance to leave Egypt and Cleopatra. He fears he may be loosing himself to her, something a "Caesar" is not permitted to do. Wanting to see his reflection is his way of reminding himself of his position and duties.]
He turns, pacing slowly toward the windows looking to the sea. The scene dissolves to Cleopatra's apartment that night. It is after dinner and music is playing. Present are Cleopatra, Caesar, Sosigenes, Rufio, Germanicus and Ramos. Eiras is playing backgammon with Germanicus. Handmaidens are serving various wines and sweetmeats, under the supervision of Charmian. We see the moving image created by a Zoetrope. It is a flickering image, drawn in the Egyptian style, of a Pharaoh driving two horses hitched to a war chariot. The reins are tied around his waist. The horses seem to move, the chariot surges past some pyramids, the Pharaoh reaches over his shoulder to a quiver, draws an arrow to his bow and lets it fly. It repeats again and again. Turning the crank is Caesar, staring though the slits in the drum at the candle-lit image within. His is astonished and delighted...
It moves! The picture moves - !
He lifts his head, stares wonderingly at Cleopatra and Sosigenes. He passes the Zoetrope on to Rufio who examines it with Ramos...
How is it done? To have it move in such a life-like way - ?
They say it is a fault in that part
of the eye which holds the vision.
But I believe it is the mind which
sees - not the eye - and that the
pictures pass so quickly, the mind
does not release one before it
receives the next. And so they
seem to be continuous...
Magic. Egyptian magic -
Knowledge. Egyptian knowledge...
Caesar throws her a sharp look. Cleopatra doesn't see it but Sosigenes does...
She indicates the next mechanism and Apollodorus sets before Caesar a system of three bronze interlocking rings, a globe within a globe, within a globe...
The belt of stars. Set this one for
whatever star is overhead, this for
the time of night, and where they
meet on this inner ring - is where
you are on the face of the world...
It seems a rather useless toy...
Useless? Tell me, Rufio - what do
Caesar's ships do at night?
What do they do? Why, they stay
where they are for fear of -
(he gets the point)
- loosing their way...
Egyptian ships follow the stars...
Caesar looks grimly at the astrolabe, then to Cleopatra:
What other wonders do you have -
to confound the barbarians?
Nothing of more consequence than
these simple devices. Perhaps
Caesar has grown weary of -
I find them always fascinating.
She indicates for the next "wonder" to be shown. He brings a simple arrangement of three rods holding two pieces of glass a short distance apart...
Two of these - very large - are on
the Pharos Light.
(she hands it
Sometime, perhaps, Sosigenes will
explain the principle to you...
In simple barbaric terms, I hope.
What does it do?
Look through it. For example, let
Caesar look through it at his
mighty hand - and he will see how
much more mighty that hand becomes...
From Caesar's perspective, we see his enlarged hand. He plays with the instrument, moving his hand back and forth - from normal to enlarged size. Then, in apparent casualness, he looks to Cleopatra...
And the use of it?
How often have you stood on a
battlefield watching the approach
of distant troops, wondering if
they were friends? With this,
Caesar may see his enemies clearly -
and from far off...
Caesar nods, as if in agreement. Then, deliberately, he raises the telescope and looks through it at Cleopatra.
Through the telescope we see Cleopatra's smile vanish. She is hurt and dismayed by his action. She rises to her feet, as do all the others, except Caesar, who remains seated...
I am reminded, here, of one of
Caesar's favorite tactics. He will
sometimes parade his best troops
and most powerful war machines
openly - in full view of the enemy.
Very often they will be so overwhelmed
by what they see that - even before he
asks - they will surrender to him...
And now, with your permission...we
must make an early start tomorrow -
Rufio, Germanicus and I -
An early start - ?
Preparing for our return to Rome...
[Here we have something close to a confession, and an extension of his wanting to see his reflected image in the previous scene. The riches and wonders of Egypt, and the allure of Cleopatra, have him close to "surrender". He makes a connection to Cleopatra's "parade" of scientific wonders and his own tactic of parading his might before his enemies as having the same conclusion - surrender. In this case, his surrender to Cleopatra. But, he has put a rein on himself. Earlier in the day, he wanted to stay. Now, suddenly, he realizes he must go. His loyalty to Rome forbids him to stay any longer in the presence of such temptation. By deleting the two scenes on this page, we lose yet another facet of Caesar - he is still human enough to be tempted by matters of the heart, but his responsibility and duty as a Roman leader will always come first. At this point he has, in essence, chosen Rome over Cleopatra. When Cleopatra suggested Caesar could see the enemy from a distance with the telescope, and he looks at her through it, he is looking at his enemy - not in the battle sense, but in the sense that someone could gain a foothold on him through his heart.]
He nods to Rufio and Germanicus. They bow to Cleopatra and start out. Ramos, Eiras and Charmian escort them. Apollodorus and Sosigenes see to the removal of the devices. Throughout this activity, Cleopatra's gaze remains fixed on Caesar. He smiles in a friendly fashion...
Don't go, yet -
But I am already overwhelmed -
prepared to surrender...
Please stay - and talk with me.
Caesar hesitates, turns, walks away a few steps. Only Apollodorus remains, standing near the entrance door, he bows:
Have I permission to leave - ?
Cleopatra merely nods. He goes out. She turns to Caesar, standing with his back to her, some distance removed...
into a sweet)
How long before you go?
These are too sweet. I must send
you some from Rome. Perhaps a
little bitter, ours, but a more
Why? What have I done to you?
(he turns now)
You're beginning to frighten me a
little, I think -
I don't understand -
Your unfortunate little brother was
not too far wrong - you do practice
witchcraft of a kind. Oh, you
don't assume different shapes - the
heavens know you don't need any
other but the one you have - still
you have tried to bewitch me,
How have I? When - ?
From the moment I set the crown on
your head - when was that? Four
months, five, an eternity ago,
yesterday? - you've set out to
cast a spell over me. The wealth
of Egypt, the power of Egypt, the
promise of Egypt - and of you...
No, they're real - they're here
for you to have! Keep me, keep
Egypt, Caesar - stay with us...
Is it Egypt you offer me? Or are
you asking for Rome?
Not Rome! But you...
Oh, how I wish I did have the power
of witchcraft; I promise I would
cast a spell on you. If I could,
I'd conjure up all your forgotten
dreams - and make them each come
true. I'd enchant you into
staying a thousand years here, with
me - and for every hour of every
day of every year, you'd need me.
You must need me, somehow I must
make you need me...
Suddenly young and defenseless, she starts to cry. Caesar is touched and disturbed...
It is not permitted Caesar to need
anyone too much -
- for then he would no longer be
Great Caesar - but not too great,
is that it? Mighty - but not too
mighty...nor must he stay too
long away from Rome. Is that
enough for you? To be Caesar -
I must return to Rome...
Cleopatra, seemingly reconciled to it...
Then - before you go - there is one
last wonder, one last place, here
in Alexandria, I want to be with
Are you quite sure that, even now,
you haven't in mind - trying to
bewitch me into staying?
Yes, be frightened of me, Mighty
Caesar. Beware and tremble when
I come near you. Because, if I
can - I will do exactly that...
She brings her lips to his and they kiss. The scene dissolves to Alexander's Tomb. The film continues uncut through the scene in Alexander's tomb, where Cleopatra reveals she is carrying Caesar's child...a son, "...by Isis I swear it". He agrees to stay in Egypt until the child is born. From there, to Rome, and the scene between Antony and the barren Calpurnia, Caesar's Roman wife. He has come to tell her Caesar has married Cleopatra, according to Egyptian religion. She already knows this, as well as knowing Caesar has been declared an Egyptian god, "Officially divine, at last." She is heartbroken.
[Cleopatra and Egypt have given Caesar what she and Rome could not.]
The scene dissolves back to Egypt, to the temple of Isis in Cleopatra's apartment. There, the High Priestess divines that a son will be born to Cleopatra, and that, "Rome will know him in cloth of gold! The son of Egypt and of Rome - here shall he find his destiny...!"
[For the second time, the "fire incantation" is used. This time, with more certain revelations.]
The scene dissolves to the Palace Forecourt. The populace, awaiting the birth of their Queen's child, is in joyous celebration. Free food and drink abound and there is much dancing, carousing, and drunken activity of an amatory nature. Roman Sentries guard the entrance to the Palace. The scene switches to Cleopatra's apartment. She is in labor. She instructs Charmian to take her son to Caesar and, "...lay him at Caesar's feet." Charmian promises to do exactly as told. The scene dissolves to the Throne Room where Caesar and his officers have gathered to await the birth of his child. Charmian enters, carrying the child. Rufio reminds Caesar that, "...according to Roman law...if you pick up this child before witnesses, you acknowledge it as yours - and a citizen of Rome! As your heir...". It is a son, indeed. With ecstatic happiness, Caesar holds his child high above his head, exclaiming with unbounded pride, "A son! I have a son!" Still holding his son above his head, he parades out to the Palace Forecourt where the crowd is massed before the Royal platform, waiting expectantly. Caesar arrives and roars triumphantly, "A son! Caesar has a son!" And, with a great smack, he kisses the baby's behind. The crowd goes mad with approval. The scene switches back to Cleopatra's bedroom. Here, there is a quieter jubilation. The roar of the crowd outside can be heard. Making her way to Cleopatra's bed, Charmian finds the Queen exhausted by her ordeal. As Charmian bends over her...
Did he pick him up? Tell me...
did Caesar hold up his son...?
He picked him up - and kissed him...
smiles and nods...her eyes fill with tears. Peacefully, she turns away
while the roar of the crowd continues. The scene dissolves to
the Roman Forum.