Exploring The Waste Land
A miscellaneous page linked from The Waste Land, Part II, line 77

Fatal Cleopatras, poisonous Belladonnas
Line 77

The line

is an allusion to Cleopatra in William Shakespeare's play Antony and Cleopatra, Act II, scene ii line 190

Regarding Cleopatra, Colleen Lamos gives us something to think about:

The displacement of matricidal fantasies onto a murderous mother is the compulsively enacted scenario of Eliot's early poetry. A cursory review of his poems from "Prufrock" through The Waste Land produces an inventory of fatal Cleopatras, poisonous Belladonnas, sadistic salon matrons, and rapacious whores. Correspondingly, these texts are littered with the corpses of young men, many of whom have drowned in a lethal, uterine element.

Colleen Lamos, Deviant Modernism: Sexual and Textual Errancy in T.S. Eliot, James Joyce, and Marcel Proust, p. 13, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0 521 62418 5

Exploring The Waste Land
File name: mq077.html
File date: Sunday, September 29, 2002
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