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It is said of Enobarbus that he understands everyone but himself. Do you agree?

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Introduction

It is said of Enobarbus that he understands everyone but himself. Do you agree? Enobarbus, Antony's most loyal supporter, is worldly and cynical; Enobarbus is friendly with the subordinates of both Pompey and Caesar, yet stays faithful to his master even after Antony makes grave political and military missteps. The fact that he is worldly and cynical could mean that he is quick to criticise and speak about others but what does Enobarbus know about himself? Being Antony's most loyal supporter Enobarbus shows not resistance or fear to be able to speak freely, mainly in private, with Antony, and often is used as a person to whom Antony confides in. This is demonstrated in Act I, Scene ii, as Antony explains how Cleopatra is "cunning past man's thought" (I.ii.146). In reply to this Enobarbus speaks very freely of his view of Cleopatra describing that '...her passions are made of nothing but the finest part of pure love. We cannot call her winds and waters sighs and tears; they are greater storms and tempests than almanacs can report. ...read more.

Middle

(II.ii.188-189) 'the barge she sat in, like a burnished throne, Burned on the water: the poop was beaten gold; Purple the sails, and so perfumed that the winds were lovesick with them; the oars were silver,' (II.ii.193-197) 'And, for his ordinary, pays his heart for what his eyes eat only.') 'Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety....' (II.ii.237-238) In these above quotations, Enobarbus turns Antony's and Cleopatra's encounter into a fairy tale and leads the audience into believing the two are inseparable. The speeches which he makes in Act II are extremely important to the play in that this is how Shakespeare wants the audience to view Antony and Cleopatra. Cleopatra is described in the quotations by Enobarbus highly attractive. Enobarbus may be saying this because he is aware and understands that Antony has so much to loose by having her. Again this shows that Enobarbus has a vast understanding of the relationship between the two Characters. He seems to have been included in the play by Shakespeare as somewhat of a story telling character as he frequently is informing the audience about the two characters as well as others. ...read more.

Conclusion

(III.ii.18-19) this again is showing that Enobarbus understands about Lepidus's feelings towards Antony. Above we can see that Enobarbus has a very good and clear understanding about the characters of Antony, Cleopatra and Lepidus. However to what extent does he understand himself? Towards the start of this essay I examined how he looked at the Cleopatra. He used a variety of flowery language which was highly roman romantic such as 'her passions are made of nothing but the finest part of pure love.' To come up with such vivid descriptions of Cleopatra could imply something that Enobarbus is not aware of. It could imply that he is in love with Cleopatra and he may not be aware of this but the language that he uses in describing her certainly suggests that this could be a possibility. All in all, based on the quotations found in the play, I believe the statement: 'It has been said of Enobarbus that he understands everyone but himself' to be true. He certainly knows in depth about the relationship of Antony and Cleopatra and he also knows about Lepidus as well, but he still seems to lack knowledge about himself. ?? ?? ?? ?? Louis Redman 08/05/2007 ...read more.

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