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What is the importance of Charmian and Eunobarbas

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Introduction

What is the importance of Charmian and Eunobarbas? Throughout Act 1 the inferior characters of the play have appeared in the play and acted at first only as background extras to the main characters. The maids of Cleopatra and servants of Antony follow the main characters around and act as the conversationalists to help the reader learn what the Antony and Cleopatra are thinking. The minor characters act to an extent as a respite from the bickering and feuding of the main characters with the use of a lot of comical language. Shakespeare also is able to contrast the main characters language which is quite serious and beset with double meanings and deeper connotations, with the inferior characters simple and straightforward language. ...read more.

Middle

As the main characters begin to play games with each other Shakespeare uses great irony to point out how Cleopatra maidservant Charmian, who is clearly the insubordinate, has the common sense to contrast the imprudence of Antony and Cleopatra with a rational perspective. Charmian tells Cleopatra to 'cross him in nothing...in time we hate that which we often fear'. The use of wise words from insubordinate characters especially Charmian and the fact that she wins the minor argument she has with Cleopatra could be significant as she was told by the soothsayer that 'you shall outlive the lady whom you serve'. Shakespeare uses the inferior characters in order to explore new themes in the play. ...read more.

Conclusion

Charmian is on familiar terms with her mistress and can tease her about her past life and former lovers. Shakespeare did this to help stress their importance. Shakespeare also expands the language connotations of the inferior characters to help emphasize their importance. The servant of Antony named Enobarbas is seen immediately in the play as dislikable character that uses a lot of bawdy humor 'she makes a shower of rain as well as Jove'. However Enobarbas when speaking to Antony about whether they must leave due to Fulvia's death answers 'the business that you have broached here cannot be without you especially that of Cleopatra, which wholly depends on your abode.' This again shows how the inferior characters show how the main characters have lost an element of rationale - that if Antony leaves Egypt he is in effect leaving Cleopatra forever. ?? ?? ?? ?? Miss Harbidge ...read more.

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