Asterisk denotes entries on real places.
*Alexandria. Egypt’s capital city, in which the play’s second through fourth acts are set during the six-month period when Ptolemy’s forces were besieging Caesar and Cleopatra. In the play, Caesar uses this time to teach Cleopatra how to be a more effective leader. Shaw’s description of Cleopatra’s royal palace in Alexandria compares its throne room favorably to the home of a rich British industrialist.
Act 3 opens on the quay in front of Cleopatra’s palace, which the Roman guards will not let her leave. In order to reach Caesar, Cleopatra has herself rolled into a carpet and smuggled by boat to the harbor’s lighthouse, where Caesar has his headquarters. Afterward, Caesar and Cleopatra live together within the palace. The play’s final act returns to the quay, where the victorious Caesar says his good-byes to Cleopatra.
*Lighthouse. Fortress guarding the entrance to Alexandria’s harbor in which Caesar and his soldiers station themselves in act 3 so they can guard their retreat to the sea if they need to leave Egypt.
*Sphinx. Monumental ancient statue of a creature with a human head and a lion’s body near Giza, about one hundred miles south of Alexandria, where Caesar and Cleopatra meet for the first time in the second scene of act 1. One of the world’s oldest human-crafted monuments, the Great Sphinx symbolizes human progress, which Shaw believed requires the existence of “supermen” and “superwomen.” His play depicts Julius Caesar as a superman figure at the height of his powers and Cleopatra as a potential superwoman; it is thus fitting that they first meet at the foot of the Sphinx. After their meeting, Cleopatra takes Caesar back to the throne room of her palace. Not yet realizing who Caesar is, she wants to flee from the Romans. Caesar then begins to teach her how to lead others and reveals to her who he truly is.
Cleopatra’s palace. Secondary palace on Egypt’s border with Syria to which Cleopatra retreats when her war with Ptolemy goes badly. The first scene of act 1 takes place in the palace’s courtyard. Shaw uses the scene to make comparisons with Great Britain’s Buckingham Palace and the British army that are unfavorable to the British. This scene is the only one in the play that does not feature either of the play’s two title characters; however, Shaw uses it to set up the situation and to have the guards comment on the dishonorable efficiency of Roman soldiers.