Titus Maccius Plautus – Amphitryon

So today I finished reading a play by Plautus it was called Amphitryon. It basically told the story of Jove coming down and borrowing another mans wife having a baby with her and then going back up to heaven. It was certainly an interesting read. The story line read very much like an ancient myth which the story is from. There were two points to which I found extremely interesting as I feel they point to the culture of the time.

  1. The concept of knowing who you are: In the story Jove has made himself to look like Alcemena’s Husband Amphitryon knowing that he would get nowhere with her because she is a faithful wife. Mercury is made up to look like Amphitryon’s slave Sosia. Well this gets real interesting when the real Amphitryon and Sosia come into the picture. Unlike we would be used to in hiding so that they wouldn’t see them disguised as them Mercury and Jove straight up confront the two men and make them question whether they are truly them. Sosia is even convinced that there just must be two of him one at the house and one with his master. I think that this is really interesting because no one in their right mind would actually believe this but they are relying on purely philosophical arguments when he is convinced of this. Amphitryon is not so easily confused and simply decides that it must be the work of a sorcerer.
  2. All’s Well that Ends Well …As long as you get glory out of it. In the end Jove tells Amphitryon exactly what happens and tells him that he should not be angry with his wife because it was his doing and then that he will get all the glory for the immortal son that Alcemena bore him. And Amphitryon is completely fine with that!! I don’t know about you but if some guy comes in and steals your wife for a couple days doing god knows what to her and then she bears that guys son I would think you would be pretty pissed. But no Amphitryon is okay with it because he will win eternal glory from this son. Wow.

Overall it was a very interesting play. I didn’t really like the ending because Jove is just like “well I had my fun peace out” but I wasn’t a dull read. Now on to the works of Terence.


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