Role and Function of Enobarbous

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Consider the role and function of Enobarbus in Antony and Cleopatra Enobarbus is a vital character and a key element to the success of the play. Emrys Jones view on Enobarbus is that he is “the plays strongest supporting character and structural device of great importance to the plays dramatic effect.” He is portrayed in many forms, honest, likable, high ranking solider, “he is of note” trustworthy and a true friend to Antony. Enobarbus and Antony share a deep friendship. Antony confides in Enobarbus allowing him to speak freely and honestly. When Antony tells Enobarbus Fulvia is dead he replies with “Why, sir, give the gods a thankful sacrifice” showing Enobarbus freedom of speech in private. Enobarbus has to be told his place more than once within the play “Thou art only a soldier” making him unpredictable to the audience. A function of Enobarbus is to help the audience form views on other characters such as Octavia and Caesar he also conveys the nature of the relationship between Antony and Cleopatra. When Antony discusses with Enobarbus leaving for Rome and how Cleopatra will react Enobarbus speaks as if he is talking from experience. “Cleopatra, catching but the least noise of this, dies instantly; I have seen her die twenty times upon far poorer moment”. This is not what Antony wanted to hear, Enobarbus tells antony the effect his leaving will have on Cleopatra, it also lets the audience know that Cleopatra often over reacts and is very dramatic when things don’t go her way. Enobarbus is also seen as a realist and a cynic for instance his caustic joke about “horses and mares” serving together. however he can’t just be seen as a cynical blunt soldier, we also see his own personal struggle in coming to a decision as to whether or not to desert Antony, giving the audience a deeper understanding of Enobarbus love for Antony and showing the audience that Antony is blinded by love for Cleopatra and not thinking as the great leader Antony once was. His...
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