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Writings of Plautus

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WRITINGS OF PLAUTUS

In Plautus' plays The Haunted House and The Pot of Gold Plautus tells stories of families staged during the ancient times in Athens. Throughout the plays Plautus depicts the Roman society. Giving insight to many Roman social concerns such as women, and women rights, how important politics were to the Romans, slavery, and father son relationships.

Throughout Plautus' writings it is very evident that women in the Roman society were to stay home cook, clean, manage the household they did not carry the same value as the men of the household. It is in the play Pot of Gold where Eunomia one of the main girl characters clearly states this while in conversation with her brother she says on line 122 "Although I'm a woman and really don't matter, (For men think that women just prattle and chatter)". This states that in the ancient Roman society Roman men did not think very highly of women. Eunomia goes on to say line 140 "No women is noble--some are just less bad" Women were not respected by the men. Women were thought of to be the caretaker of the children, it was expected of them to bear children. It was of great importance that women knew how to spin wool to make clothing or those in their family. ("Ancient Rome :: Roman Society.") Women did not get to choose who they marry, it is chosen for them by their father the Play The Pot of Gold on line 270 Euclio talks about how he has chosen a husband for his daughter "My daughter's getting married-- right away-- to Megadorus" It was very important to men at this time that they receive a dowry from his soon to be wife's family, in The Pot of Gold Plautus writes a great deal concerning this subject even though one of the main characters Euclio has a pot of gold that only he knows of, everyone else thinks he is a poor man, when Megadorus wants to marry Eucilos daughter there is long conversation between the two discussing how Eucilos has no money to pay the dowry and Megadorus agrees that there is no need for a dowry line 226 "Agreed--but you wont forget what we have arranged. I mean about the lack of dowry that my daughter brings with her." A dowry for women just shows they had no say in what they wanted to do, and who they wanted to be with. It makes it seem as though women were pawned off onto other men when they came of age.

Politics played a big role in Roman society it was something that was thought of to be very respectable, women however were not allowed to be involved in politics. However growing up boy children were bred for a future in politics in Plautus' play The Haunted House on line 123 Philolaches (the young man in the play) exclaims through song "In hopes that what builds may some day serve the state-- ...They spare no pains and they spare no expense. Then its lots of schooling: arts and letters, legal lore build his brain." Philolaches is talking about how growing up a father builds his son, almost programming him to grow up and become a part of the Roman political system. Politics were very important to people of Rome because it showed a sort of rank amongst them, dividing them into higher class if you held position in politics. However just because you were in politics to not necessarily make you a man of wealth, it was an honor but it did not mean you made a lot of money being a part of it. Euclio says on line 225 of The Pot of Gold "Powerful politically but I am a pauper of impoverished poverty" this shows not all men of political power had wealth.

Slavery was a large part of Roman society rich or poor, almost everyone had a slave or two. In Pot of Gold it is thought that Eucilo is a poor man however he still was in control of two slaves. A slave of someone's household could have responsibilities ranging to just about anything that the owner wanted them to do. One of the cooks talking with a slave in Pot of Gold line 307 "In other words he won't give us a silver talent to buy our

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