‘Queen Cleopatra’ Episode 4 Recap & Ending, Explained: Why Do Antony-Cleopatra Decide To Kill Themselves?

The penultimate third episode of Queen Cleopatra had many things going on in the documentary. In detail, it talked about the losses that Antony faced and his coming back to Cleopatra not just out of love but to seek out help in the form of money and forces that would help him fight his war in the eastern faction of the republic. Antony and Cleopatra face another loss in the battle of Actium, and with that, it is certain that Octavian will come back for them. Octavian in Rome began a smear campaign against Cleopatra in the hope of gathering as much support as possible. Where are the fates of Antony and Cleopatra headed?

Queen Cleopatra’s first instinct was to safeguard her country, her children, and the power she had over the locals. She knew an attack was imminent, and she and her husband Antony began to prepare for another siege. Antony had lost confidence in himself, and things between him and his wife were bitter after the loss at the battle of Actium. Cleopatra was in a hurry to safeguard her kingdom, and that was rightly her priority. She built this place from scratch, and she was not ready to give it up yet. Antony too tried to assist her, but he sadly didn’t have the confidence to pick things up from where they left off.

Cleopatra’s first course of action was to send her kids away to her allies so that they would remain safe in case of an invasion. She wanted Caesarion out because she knew Octavian would come for Julius’s son first. She sent her three kids with Antony—Alexander Helios, Cleopatra Selene II, and Ptolemy Philadelphus—far away from Alexandria to keep them safe. And in the event that Alexandria falls, they could rebel against the Roman faction once they come of age. Cleopatra had a hard time separating herself from the kids because they were a part of who she was. But she did what she had to do. She wanted to face Octavian on her own, and she wouldn’t let her kids sacrifice themselves. Cleopatra was anticipating the worst, and with the Roman army charging towards them, it would only be a matter of a few months before they would be on their doorsteps, demanding her life.

Cleopatra also let Antony know of Octavian’s offer, and she let him know that she rejected the offer of killing him. Antony got livid at the messenger, but with this oncoming war, Antony and Cleopatra’s love for each other grew manifolds. They would want to spend as much time with each other. Though her confidence in him had shattered after two defeats, she was not sure if the man she loved had the strength in him to take on another war. The man himself was short on confidence, and it would have had a bad impact on the morale of the army he was in and Cleopatra’s army. It was difficult for them to discuss politics and warfare, even with Octavian reaching the southern end of Egypt.

Why Does Antony-Cleopatra Decide To Kill Themselves?

Cleopatra and Antony knew an attack was coming but they were not aware the Romans would charge them from a region which was not prone to invasions. The Roman army reached the kingdom, and they began the work by slowly and steadily making the Egyptian allies’ defect and support the Romans. Many of the Egyptian army generals and leaders defected and joined the Roman army because they knew they would not be killed if they joined the enemy camp. The Egyptian army fell slowly and steadily, but still, there were people in the army who were loyal to Cleopatra, and they were putting up a good fight.

Back in Alexandria, Cleopatra organized a grand banquet for everyone in the palace as a way to boost morale. She also tried to use religion as a way to get support, hoping it would work in her favor. She and Antony were on the verge of a full-blown war with Octavian, and they could only hope things would go their way. As the Queen, she has the responsibility of safeguarding the capital city and the people living behind the city walls. She was sure that even with Antony gone to fight the war, she would be able to protect her city from being invaded. The biggest advantage here for Antony would be that his army was not tired, but Octavian’s was because they had been traveling and fighting nonstop. Even with this advantage, things didn’t work out for Antony and Cleopatra. They were waiting for doom. Cleopatra sent a letter to Antony, whose contents were never made public. The Roman army reached the city gates; she hid away in her tomb and planned to set it on fire, destroying all the gold and treasure she had safeguarded for her kingdom. She was sure she would never let Octavian come close to her or the money.

Antony finds her in her tomb and lets her know about the letter she got from him. It convinced him to commit suicide, but he wanted to meet her before he took his last breath. No one knows what was in the letter that made Antony take this drastic step. It can be insinuated that she will kill herself with the Roman army closing in on her. As a result, Antony decided to kill himself, and he died in her arms. But as Shakespeare’s literature suggests, Cleopatra did not kill herself at that moment. A devastated Cleopatra was captured by the Roman army, and they made sure they would not execute her or else she would be called a martyr. She would be taken to Rome and made a prisoner in the city. The Queen had other plans, and she managed to send a letter to Octavian asking him to meet her. As the guards leave, Cleopatra and her advisors consume poisoned dates and doze off.

The poison was the most painless way to end her life, and it ended her life in such a manner that it did not distort her beauty at all. Octavian quickly concluded that the letter meant she would have killed herself by now, and the man was right. The Queen had mentioned in the letter that she wants her kids to be safe and the Egyptian kingdom should be given back to them. She had also specified to Octavian that he let her and Antony be buried together, as they wanted to live together in the afterlife. None of her demands were met, and she and Antony were cremated. Octavian got hold of all her kids, put them in prison, and paraded them before the city. Caesarion had to be put to death. Julius Caesar’s son would be a bigger threat to Octavian’s seat than Cleopatra’s children with Mark Antony. Octavian did what any leader would do to safeguard his legitimacy and his claim. He wanted to make sure his claim always remained powerful. Though even after parading Cleopatra’s kids, Octavian asked his sister Octavia to take care of the kids. The kids did grow up in a family of privilege and keeping in mind the respect he had for Antony, he let the kids live. The daughter of Cleopatra, Cleopatra Selene II, ended up becoming the queen of Numidia and Mauretania, and as a memory of her upbringing in the Egyptian palaces, she had taken with her plenty of artifacts that reminded her of the culture her mother raised her in. The daughter wanted to keep her mother’s memory alive and keep alive the traditions and culture of Egyptians, and she probably passed it on to her children. Queen Cleopatra’s legacy would live on through her children and grandchildren.

The last scene of the last episode of this documentary on Queen Cleopatra talks about the legacy of ancient Egyptian civilization after her death. It marked the end of the ancient Egyptian civilization, as she was the last pharaoh of the kingdom. After her passing, it became a province under the Roman republic. Cleopatra was not just a woman of beauty. She was a prominent African queen who was a prolific leader, a great wife, and a mother who safeguarded her kids and her population till the end. She wanted to go out of this world on her own terms, and she made sure to do that. She never allowed anyone to decide the fate of her life and death. Be it her siblings or now her rival Octavian. She was the boss of her own life, and she dedicated a lot of it to her people and the kingdom.

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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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