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Consider the variety and range of Enobarbus' dramatic contribution to the play 'Antony and Cleopatra'.

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Introduction

Shakespeare uses Enobarbus in a number of ways during the play 'Antony and Cleopatra'. Primarily his strong fraternal bond with Antony allows Shakespeare to reveal Antony's inner thoughts and feelings to a loyal and trusted counsellor. But he has more significance than simply as an 'ear' or a shoulder to lean on for Antony. He also acts as a go-between for the audience expressing support, doubts, caution and warmth as occasion requires. He is a man of intellect, experience, perception, intuition and often Shakespeare uses him to anticipate future events and comment on past follies. At times Shakespeare gives Enobarbus great poetry and at other times the cynical prose of the realist. Shakespeare uses Enobarbus's betrayal of Antony and subsequent death to intensify the feeling of the tragedy as the play draws to a close. The first time Enobarbus begins to build his character is in I,ii, where Antony is talking to him about how he must leave Egypt and go to Rome. This is when we notice the extent of Enobarbus and Antony's fraternity with one another. Shakespeare shows Enobarbus to be more respected through juxtaposition. ...read more.

Middle

This hints that she was so great she was God-like, a Goddess amongst humans. Enobarbus goes on to describe her sailing into shore with her women attendants to be like a flock of mermaids. He says there was ' a strange invisible perfume' that 'hits the sense of the adjacent wharf's', the language gives a beautiful image of a boat sailing slowly into dock with an aura that consumes all in its way. After all of this beautiful language and 'out of this world' imagery Enobarbus brings her down to earth. He tells of how he had seen her once hopping 'forty paces through the public street'. This is something one would not expect from a queen, but he explains that 'she did make defect perfection'. He also says, a very important quote about her 'age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety' this means that she has a number of different sides to her personality - not too far from Enobarbus himself. The effect of Enobarbus making this long and inspiring speech has a number of different level's. The first and most obvious is that they (the Romans) ...read more.

Conclusion

He begs forgiveness from Antony and asks that the world registers him as a 'master-leaver' and a 'fugitive'. As we can see from this Enobarbus has no self respect left and the only way he can generate some dignity is to kill himself in the noble way, by falling on his sword. His last words were 'Antony' which illustrates his love and bond he had with Antony. Enobarbus's death is made so poignant and tragic because of what it symbolises. Enobarbus has always been a voice of reason and wisdom to Antony and his death meant that Antony was imminently doomed. The reason it is so tragic is because of the love the audience has for Enobarbus, and we get that love from watching all his other sides. The showman; the drinking partner; the wise foreseer; the shoulder to lean on; the good friend and the noble soldier are all sides that appeal to us and make us connect with Enobarbus so when he dies we all despair. Therefore the range of Enobarbus is all of these things and there contribution to the play is effectively a sense of poignancy, regret and tragedy. - 1 - ...read more.

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