Titus Maccius Plautus: Menaechmi

(1370 words)

Like the Shakespearean drama it inspired, The Comedy of Errors (1592), Plautus' Menaechmi (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 …

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Citation:
Christenson, David M.. "Menaechmi". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 24 April 2009
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=13461, accessed 19 April 2014.]