Titus Maccius Plautus, Menaechmi

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Like the Shakespearean drama it inspired,

The Comedy of Errors

(1592), Plautus'


(date unknown) is a comedy of confusion, mistaken identity, and ultimate reunion. The background to the plot runs thus: a merchant of Syracuse had identical twins. He took the twin named Menaechmus with him on a business trip to Tarentum. The boy was separated from his father at a festival there, and abducted by a merchant of Epidamnus (a Greek colony on the Adriatic Sea, now part of Albania), who subsequently adopted him. The lost boy's father died of grief, and the grandfather back in Syracuse renamed the other twin Menaechmus (the twins are cleverly named after a 4th century BCE Syracusan mathematician/geometer who solved the problem of “doubling the cube”: for excellent commentary on the play…

1370 words

Citation: Christenson, David M.. "Menaechmi". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 24 April 2009 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=13461, accessed 18 July 2024.]

13461 Menaechmi 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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