Role and Function of Enobarbous

1621 words 7 pages
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
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As a vital secondary character he appears often not in the sense of activity but mainly as a commentator. Evangeline O’Connor states that; “Enobarbus seems designed in part to serve as the organ and mouth piece of the author’s judgement respecting the other persons; so that in him we have at once a character and commentary”. He moulds the view of the audience, becoming their eyes within the play. He exposes other characters as well as their traits and the general atmosphere along with surroundings and background information. Enobarbus is also used as a foil to Antony and as a guide to other characters through his comments and observations.
He also foretells future events highlighting his prophetic function within the play one example of this is when he talks of Antony “will do his Egyptian dish again. Then shall the sighs of Octavia blow the fire up in Caesar” Enobarbus rightly predicts Antony’s down fall due to his marriage to Octavia. “That the marriage to Octavia will lead to greater dissension” as well as “Antony will ever leave Cleopatra” His ability to be correct in his predictions gains the trust of the audience and we become to rely upon Enobarbus for the truth as well as insight to other characters. Caesar also sees Enobarbus as trustworthy that speaks the truth, when Caesar says “I do not much dislike the matter but the manner of his speech”.
Enobarbus is heartbroken after his desertion of Antony and when the realisation of

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