To what purpose did Shakespeare create Enobarbus?
Enobarbus is a high-ranking soldier in Antony's army who it seems is very close to his commander. We know this by the way Enobarbus is permitted to speak freely (at least in private) with Antony. He is also a person who Antony confides in. For instance in Act I, Scene ii, as Antony explains who Cleopatra is "cunning past man's thought". In reply to this Enobarbus speaks freely of his view of Cleopatra, even if what he says is very positive. ‘...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. This cannot be cunning in her; if it be she makes a shower of rain as well as Jove.’ Another example of his ability to speak freely is when Antony receives the news of Fulvias death Enobarbus tells Antony to ‘give the gods a thankful sacrifice’ in other words he is saying Fulvia's death is a good thing. Obviously, someone would never say something like this unless they were very close to one another.
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So Sharespeare has created this character for some one to whom Antony can confide in and to get a truthful opinion. Furthermore Enobarbus is also used to exaggerate Antony and Cleopatra’s relationship. Which is done by his statements. (II.ii.) ‘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.) ‘And, for his ordinary, pays his heart For what his eyes eat only.’.Enobarbus leads the audience into believing that Antony and Cleopatra are inseparable. His speeches in Act II are absolutely vital to the play in that this is what Shakespeare wants the audience to view Antony and Cleopatra. Enonbarbus also describes Cleopatra as irresistible and beautiful beyond belief, another view that is necessary for us to believe in order to buy the fact that a man with so much to lose would be willing to risk it all in order to win her love.
Another reason why Shakespeare probably created Enobarbus as a means of producing information to the audience that would otherwise be difficult or awkward to bring forth from other characters (such as Cleopatra's beauty and the story of her betrayal of Caesar), but he also uses him as way to bring humour into the play, showing that the characters like to have a good time. Evidence of this is shown in both Act I and Act II when Enobarbus supports the joys of drink: ‘Bring in the banquet quickly: wine enough Cleopatra's health to drink.’. (I.ii.) ‘Mine, and most of our fortunes, tonight, shall be-drunk to bed.’. (I.ii.) He even ends Act II with a song for Bacchus and a request for drunken celebration.
So Shakespeare created Enobarbus as a character to pass on information between characters, exposes other characters and their traits, gives background information, and lets the audience in on his surroundings and the general moods and beliefs which are occurring in the play.