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In this play Rattigan portrays the historical Alexander faithfully, at the same time revealing that his life was what it was because he was the kind of person who very well might have wept because nothing remained to conquer.
The play focuses on the transformation of Alexander after his conquest of Persia from a military adventurist to an uncompromising despot with grand vision of a world empire which estranges him from his erstwhile friends. Driven by a deep-felt insecurity, he has to kill people close to him including even the father figure Cleitus. He tries to justify his actions in the name of his dreams of the world empire, but is haunted by loneliness in the end
The play holds a deeper significance, that the conquests of Alexander were actually trials to find himself and achieve spiritual enlightenment, through becoming a god (see Theosis).
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