She actually was not Egyptian, her family has Macedonian origins. Like many others in her family, as ruler of such a large, powerful nation she helped kill her two brothers and sister to retain absolute power.
While the Romans did a good job of shaping the way the West remembers her, Cleopatra was an intelligent woman. She spoke as many as 12 languages and was educated in mathematics, philosophy, and astronomy.
Cleopatra did not die in the portrayed tragic love story. Instead, it is more likely she killed herself to avoid the shame and horror of being paraded around Rome as Augustus's prisoner of war.