Compare the roles of Enobarbus and Charmian

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Analyse the way that Shakespeare uses language to compare roles of Enobarbus and Charmian and the ways they behave with their principles

        From Shakespeare’s use of language it is very easy to become enthralled by the lives of these characters.  They are all individuals yet they are also couples, Cleopatra and Antony, Charmian and Cleopatra, Enobarbus and Antony.  They all have their own unique relationships which are different but often the same in many respects.  With all of them it is easy to see their loyalty but also their deceit, for example when Antony marries Octavia, Cleopatra finds it very hard to believe and she feels betrayed and upset as she makes clear to Charmian on page 73 lines 120-1 ‘pity me, Charmian, but do not speak to me’.

Antony is a well respected and well known general who fought alongside the late Julius Caesar in some of the best planned battles known to man, even today, and because of this Antony is generally spoken to with respect by most people.  It is clear he is well respected and sought after when even Caesar admits he is in need of Antony’s help on page 51 line 95-6 when Caesar claims he asked Antony ‘to lend me arms and aid when I required them, the which you both denied’ this shows how powerful Antony has become when the Emperor of Rome asks him for his help.    He and Cleopatra are lovers, but it would seem that there are very few who approve of this arrangement as is made clear when Philo is speaking and says “The triple pillar in the world transformed into a strumpet’s fool.” (pg 5 line 12-3), this shows very low regard for both Antony and Cleopatra and there is no way Philo should be speaking of them in this way as he is of a much lower rank.  Cleopatra is the queen of Egypt; she is a very powerful woman and she rules it quite successfully. She is quite clearly very self absorbed and use to people fawning over her, which is clear from the way she speaks to others, as if they should obey her every command. For example on page 21 when she wants Antony’s attention she tells Charmian to go and get him and she says ‘if you find him sad, say I am dancing; if in mirth, report that I am sudden sick’ (page 21 lines 3,4 and 5).  

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Most of this play was based on fact and on writing from this time, so these characters were all actual people, except Enobarbus.  Shakespeare created him, I think, so that the audience could understand Antony better.  We hear many thoughts and feelings from Cleopatra when she talks to Charmian, and we hear many of Antony’s thoughts, and the audience get more of an insight of his character, from the way he talks to Enobarbus, which is just why Shakespeare created him.

 Enobarbus is Antony’s right hand man and he has no status of his own and only has a ...

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