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Enobarbus' actions are an important part of the plot, but his commentaries on the main characters and events are evenly important: Consider the presentation and functions of Enobarbus in the play.

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Introduction

Enobarbus' actions are an important part of the plot, but his commentaries on the main characters and events are evenly important: Consider the presentation and functions of Enobarbus in the play. Enobarbus, soldier and aide appears as an amiable fellow, Loud, likeable and a dependable figure for the eponymous protagonists and to Rome. He is no mysogynist, rather a chauvinist and a comedian, and capable of drinking us under the table. This however is balanced with a quick sobering and ability to take orders while respectfully calling a spade a spade. Enobarbus can be brutally cynical yet enjoys the freedom of the royal courts of Rome and Egypt. He has a pragmatism indicated candidly, and at times sarcastically. For the first three acts, he has little or no romantic or nostalgic opinion. His speech is ironic, it works with concealment and allusion but is presented as direct statement, with a sense of comedy that is at times indelicate. ...read more.

Middle

He knows Caesar's character, that the proposal of man-to-man conflict will be rejected and becomes increasingly displaced as Antony's need to demonstrate his love for Cleopatra sweeps aside all reason. The Greek-Choric function Enobarbus provides here is most important; one essayist comments, "Shakespeare's task was to infuse the play with the sense of Antony's greatness and heroic qualities which were lacking in his source" Domitius Enobarbus is pivotal in this respect. When the soldier's cynical opinions are put forward, Antony's capacity for trust is brought to light. Only once or twice in the play does Antony go out of his way to tell Enobarbus to 'speak no more'; an order that he does not obey at once. His comments on the marriage are therefore resigned to post-conference conversation with Maecenas and Agrippa. Antony later discovers Enobarbus' warnings to have been well founded, but only at the expense of his own experience. ...read more.

Conclusion

A night's drinking becomes holy magic: he organises the dancers and gives way to incensing a spirit of unity, even convincing the rigid Caesar to drink. Pompey and Agrippa, the supposed enemies of the central characters are shown to us by Shakespeare's Enobarbus as much the opposite, applaudable and worthy and both good humoured. With Menas, the two talk of soldiering and women, an exchange respectful and harmonious. With Demetrius and Philo we get not just loyal soldiers, relatively happy in their jobs but rumouring gossips in the manner of Charmain and Iras. The symbolism and juxtaposition of scenes in the play and the dialogue seem to suggest that Enobarbus is a contradiction, a man at war with himself . He is a soldier who prefers more the life of diplomacy or politics. With Plutarch, he is little more than a foornote , Shakespeare's re-write gives to abstract motive. For the reader, hisis frank and outspoken nature welcomes, and earns him a place i' the story. c. Andrew Luke, 2002 This text may be reprinted as the user sees fit, and feedback regarding its facility is welcome. Andrew-luke@lineone. ...read more.

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