Enobarbus is Antony’s chief confidant and advisor. Though he clearly loves and admires the man he serves, Enobarbus is like many other outside observers in the play in his feeling that Antony’s Egyptian sojourn has caused him to lose his way. Enobarbus frequently expresses his concerns in asides, which makes him a chorus-like figure who comments on the events of the play. Significantly, his comments often have an aphoristic quality and carry a prophetic force. For example, following the disaster at the Battle of Actium in act 3, Enobarbus observes while alone onstage: “I see men’s judgments are / A parcel of their fortunes, and things outward / Do draw the inward quality after them / To suffer all alike” (3.13.37–40). Along with other similar statements, this one ultimately comes to fruition. As Antony increasingly loses his sense of self, his poor “judgments” inevitably reflect his doomed “fortunes.” This situation causes the events of “outward” reality to reflect his chaotic “inward quality,” which in turn leads to widespread “suffer[ing].”

Enobarbus’s sense of impending doom eventually motivates him to abandon Antony’s service and defect to Octavius, but he gets the timing wrong. Indeed, he defects to Caesar just before Antony wins a surprising victory. But even before Antony’s victory, Enobarbus recognizes his mistake. In his haste to leave, Enobarbus left behind a chest filled with treasure. Antony has this chest sent to his former advisor along with a message of good wishes. For Enobarbus, Antony’s expression of kindness and munificence stands in stark opposition to Octavius’s cruel and pitiless ambition. It is in this way that, through the doubting Enobarbus, we get a powerfully affirming perspective on Antony. For all that he may have been transformed by his affair with Cleopatra, he displays a characteristically Egyptian generosity of spirit that makes him far more admirable than the harsh, militant Romans. Horrified by his betrayal, Enobarbus condemns himself to death and seems to die from the sheer force of his regret. Enobarbus is ultimately a figure who, despite his tragic fate, contributes to the immortalization of Antony. It is also Enobarbus who, despite his skepticism, most explicitly mythologizes Cleopatra: “Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale / Her infinite variety” (2.3.276–77).