Plautus Portrayal Of Women In Roman Tragedies

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When people hear the word conflict, they usually think about it in a negative context. However, Roman comedies are filled with rambunctious and silly characters that often get tricked into a situation, that go through the process of figuring everything out amid the confusion, and finding a happy ending to their troubles. Plautus’s plays tend to reflect the lifestyle and social aspects of the lower ranks of Roman people. This is significant because it gives readers an insight to what life may be like as a peasant, a slave, or a prostitute, or just a plain old merchant. This is different from other Roman writers such as Livy, a historian who wrote about Roman history in books, instead of plays. Livy wrote his texts in the third person perspective. …show more content…
Rarely are women protagonists or heros in the plays. In The Haunted House, Plautus describes Scapha as “...a dazzling young girl of joy, recently freed by Philolaches, the second a wise and wizened ex-whore, now serving as Plilematium’s personal maid” (Plautus, The Haunted House 162-65, p. 138). There are no high ranking women seen in comedies. Perhaps the reasoning behind it is that high ranking people are seen as linked to politics and more important issues in Roman society which were mostly male dominated, so Roman play writers decided not to include the high ranking characters in their plays. This makes sense because Plautus modeled his plays for the New Greek Comedy, which has much less political and propaganda ideas involved than the Old Greek Comedy. Even then, women are not the main characters of these plays, and they do not appear intelligent. This is a general reflection of Roman society, where women cannot vote and are restricted to doing household duties and raising children. Even though characters are very important to a play, the language is also just as crucial to the makeup of …show more content…
In The Haunted House, Tranio and Plilolaches work together to deceive Theopropides so Philolaches would not get in trouble for starting a party while his father was gone. This supplies humor because usually a slave and son do not work against the father of the household, everyone is usually stuck to their roles. Some of the unintelligent characters sometimes face challenges of dealing with other unintelligent characters, causing quite the commotion. In The Brothers Menaechmus, everyone becomes confused as to why Menaechmus II does not know anything about what is happening, causing issues between the Menaechmus I’s wife, Erotium, Menaechmus’ father in law, and Messenio the slave. Nobody understands what is happening, and instead of sitting down and logically thinking the issue out, everyone insists that Menaechmus is insane and a fight breaks out. The humor behind the character conflicts is that amid the confusion everyone gets mad at each other, and no one is really smart enough to realize the possibility that Menaechmus II could really be the long lost twin brother. The comedic elements can affect the conflict structures in different ways. For example, the relationship between the slaves and the young men may not have been so close in real life. In The Haunted House, Philolaches and Tranio are forced to work together in order to protect Plilolaches against his

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