Study Questions for Plautus

 Discussion Questions for Pseudolus

1) What does this play tell us about Roman family life?

2) Give an example of a character in this play who is a decent human being.

3) What do you learn from this play about pietas, or the Roman value of respect and dutifulness?  Do characters uphold their promises and show pietas towards other members of their family? 

4) What can you learn about the roles of women in antiquity from this play?

5)  What do you think Plautus is saying about wealth and power in this play?  Are the wealthy always powerful?  Are the wealthy likeable? 

Discussion Questions for Menaechmi

1) Do you sympathize with the characters in this play?  Why or why not?  Be specific about the characters that you like or dislike and why.  What events occur that might encourage you to like or dislike certain characters?

2)  What techniques does Plautus use to generate comedy?

3)  How does the play use metatheatrical commentary? 

4)  What kinds of stereotypical characters do you see in this play? 

5)  Menaechmus finds himself in a familiar world that has gone mad.  What kinds of things does he do to try to change this? 

Assignment: Since we will be discussing how Plautus uses the "Trickster" figure in his plays, find an example in our modern culture (it can be a character in a work of literature or a movie that behaves in a certain way, an ad in a magazine that depicts a Trickster figure, etc.) and write a one-paragraph essay on how this is a modern update of Plautus's character type.