The Pseudolus, with its love-lorn young man and quick-talking slave who try desperately to wrest the captive heroine away from the scheming pimp, is a typical and masterly example of Plautus's genius. Other plays in this volume, adapted from Greek models to the manners and customs of his day, are invaluable historical documents about Roman life. As fresh, witty and perceptive today as the day they were written, they also introduce many classic comic characters and situations: the confusions surrounding the Menaechmus twins inspired Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors; the old miser in The Pot of Gold became Moliere's L'avare; while the sponger in The Prisoners and the swaggering soldier are undying - and hilarious - comic types.
Plautus's broad humor, shown in some of the earliest surviving Latin plays, reflects Roman manners and contemporary life. This briliant collection includes: The Pot of Gold (Aulularia), The Prisoners (Captivi), The Brothers Menaechmus (Menaechmi), The Swaggering Soldier (Miles Gloriosus), and Pseudolus.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Titus Maccius Plautus was born in Sarsina, Umbria, in about 254 BC, and was originally named, after his father, Titus. Little is known of his life, but it is believed that he went to Rome when young and worked as a stage assistant. His potential as an actor was discovered and he acquired two other names: Maccius, derived perhaps from the name of a clown in popular farce, and Plautus, a cognomen meaning flat-footed. Somehow Plautus saved enough capital to go into business as a merchant shipper, but this venture collapsed, and he worked (says the tradition) as a millers laborer, and in his spare time studied Greek drama. From the age of forty onwards he achieved increasing success as an adaptor of Greek comedies for the Roman stage. Much of his work seems to be original, however, and not mere translation. He was rewarded by being granted Roman citizenship. According to Cicero he died in 184 BC.
E.F. Watling was educated at Christ's Hospital and University College, Oxford. His translations of Greek and Roman plays for the Penguin Classics include the seven plays of Sophocles, nine plays of Plautus, and a selection of the tragedies of Seneca.
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