The Brothers Menaechmus and Comedy of Errors
Titus Maccius Pluatus moved to Rome from Umbria as a young boy. In the early 200s B.C.E, he began adapting Greek comedies into plays meant for a Roman audience. Plautus’ The Brothers of Menaechmus, became a source for Shakespeare’s’ play, Comedy of Errors. Shakespeare expands the story line of The Brothers of Menaechmus for his Comedy of Errors.
Plautus’ play, The Brothers Menaechmus, heavily influenced Shakespeare’s play Comedy of Errors. First, The Brothers of Menaechmus begins with a humorous prologue performed by an unknown character who directly addresses the audience. Plautus starts the prologue with the unknown character talking in iambic pentameter which gives the audience necessary…show more content…
Peniuclus sees Sosicles walking out of Epitiums’ house, the house Menaechmus’ mistresses, and thinks Menaechmus had a meal without him. When Peniculus goes to confront him and Sosicles claims he does not know Peniculus, Peniculus calls Sosicles a “dirty wrotten person…you evil man, you tricky worthless individual” (164). Out of anger, Peniculus tells Menaechmus’ wife everything about the affair, leading to a comical confrontation between Sosicles and Menaechmus’ wife. When Menaechmus’ wife sees Sosicles carrying her dress, thinking he is Menaechmus, she accuses him of cheating and stealing her dress. Sosicles replies to Menachmus’ wife, “Oh my goodness woman, what wicked impudence! Do you really claim that this gown was stolen from you, when it was given to me by another lady to take to the repairer’s?” (130), damaging Menaechmus’ relationship with his wife even further. Plautus’ ends the play with the reunion of Sosicles and Menaechmus. The reunion of the brothersis made humorous by the commentary of Messino. While the brothers are discussing the freedom of Messino he comments, “Thank you sirs… but it’ll need more than congratulations to keep me a free man for life” (146). Although Plautus’ play is mainly for humorous entertainment, the play discusses the universal problems of the role of women, the effects of greed on man, and human servitude.