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Shakespeare's Characters: Enobarbus (Antony and Cleopatra)

From The Works of William Shakespeare. Vol. 7. Ed. Evangeline Maria O'Connor. J.D. Morris and Co. (1901), Public Domain

On the whole, after Octavia, Enorbarbus is rather the noblest character in the play. His blunt, prompt, rough-spoken sagacity, mingled with a certain slyness of thought, a racy infusion of humour, and a pungent, searching irony of discourse, interpret with remorseless fidelity the moral import of the characters and movements about him; while the splitting of his heart with grief and remorse for having deserted the ship of his master, which he knew to be sinking, shows him altogether a noble vessel of manhood. That Antony's generosity kills him, approves, as nothing else could do, how generous he is himself. The character is almost entirely the Poet's own creation, Plutarch furnishing but one or two unpregnant hints towards it. In the play, he seems designed in part to serve as the organ and mouthpiece of the author's judgement respecting the other persons; so that in him we have at once a character and a commentary.
Hudson: The Works of Shakespeare.


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