All Search Options [ view abbreviations ]. Hide browse bar Your current position in the text is marked in blue. Click anywhere in the line to jump to another position:. MERCURY As, in purchasing and selling your merchandize 1 , you are desirous to render me propitious to your bargains, and that I should assist you in all things; and as both in foreign countries and at home, you desire me to turn to the best advantage the business and the accounts of you all, and that with fair and ample profit, without end, I should crown the venture both which you have begun, and which you shall begin; and as you wish me to delight you and all yours with joyous news 2 --these tidings will I bring, that I may announce them to you, things which in especial are for your common interest for already do you know, indeed, that it has been given and assigned to me by the other Divinities, to preside over news and profit : : as you would wish me to favour and promote these things, that lasting gain may ever be forthcoming for you, so shall you give silence for this play, and so shall you be fair and upright judges here, all of you. Now, by whose command, and for what reason I am come, I'll tell you, and at the sane time, myself, I will disclose my name. By the command of Jupiter I am come; my name is Mercury 3.
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Alcumena, who believes that she had made peace with him, gets angry. Now the real Sosia arrives with Blepharo. Amphitruo is upset about the treatment he was given by Mercury and verbally attacks the slave. Jupiter appears on stage, and he and Amphitruo try to detain each other. Blepharo cannot decide who the real Amphitruo is and leaves. Here our manuscripts continue. Jupiter goes inside because Alcumena is about to give birth. Amphitruo collapses. His maid Bromia leaves the house and tells him that Alcumena has given birth to twins.
She convinces him that Alcumena is innocent because the other Amphitruo is Jupiter himself. Amphitruo wants to consult the seer Tiresias about what he should do now, but Jupiter himself appears and reveals what has happened.
He promises Amphitruo future glory on account of Hercules, the twin begotten by Jupiter. Amphitruo is happy with this turn of events. In what is left of Greek New Comedy, there is nothing comparable.
But the theme of Amphitryon and Alcmene was a common one. In the fifth century it is covered by Sophocles in tragedy and by Archippus and Platon in comedy, and probably also by Aeschylus, Ion of Chios, and Euripides.
In the fourth century the theme has lost nothing of its popularity and occurs in Astydamas and Dionysius of Syracuse. Thus some scholars believe that Plautus may have reworked an earlier piece, either from Middle Comedy or a burlesque from the Greek-speaking. This latter hypothesis is particularly attractive, because if one leaves out those parts which appear to be Plautine additions rather than translated from a Greek source, no humor remains. Given how little is left of New Comedy, however, it seems best not to be too dogmatic on these issues, especially since all the other Plautine plays we have are based on New Comedy.
It should be noted that there are some obvious inconsistencies in the play. The most important of these concern the times of various events. Jupiter is said to have slept with Alcumena three months after Amphitruo impregnated her, which is just before Amphitruo returns. Jupiter is also present the night before Alcumena gives birth seven months later, and again we are told that this is when Amphitruo returns.
It could be explained—but this is only one of many possible explanations—by assuming that the first four acts are based on a tragedy in which Jupiter slept with Alcumena but was not present when she gave birth. The fifth act, in which Alcumena gives birth and which is clearly a parody of tragedy, would then be a purely Plautine addition. We do not know exactly when the Amphitruo was first put on stage.
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Find in a Library View cloth edition. Print Email. Hide annotations Display: View facing pages View left-hand pages View right-hand pages Enter full screen mode. Thus some scholars believe that Plautus may have reworked an earlier piece, either from Middle Comedy or a burlesque from the Greek-speaking 6. Please wait, image is loading Harvard University Press. Sign in to annotate. Delete Cancel Save. Cancel Save.
The play is mostly extant, but includes several large missing sections in its latter portion. Amphitryon begins with a prologue given by the god Mercury , in which he gives some background information to the audience. Amphitryon and his slave Sosia have been away at war and are returning to Thebes. Jupiter is in the guise of Amphitryon so that Alcmena is unaware that he is not her husband. Mercury's job is to buy his father Jupiter some time by deceiving those who would interfere. He changes his appearance to look like the slave Sosia, and when the real Sosia arrives, he beats him up and sends him away from the house. Thoroughly confused by having been beat up by himself, Sosia returns to the ship to relay what happened to his master Amphitryon.
The Performance of Identity in Plautus’ Amphitryon
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In this and each succeeding volume a summary will be given of the consensus of opinion 1 regarding the Greek originals of the plays in the volume and regarding the time of presentation in Rome of Plautus's adaptations. It may be that some general readers will be glad to have even so condensed an account of these matters as will be offered them. A clue to the Greek play's date is found in the description of Amphitryon's battle with the Teloboians, 2 a battle fought after the manner of those of the Diadochi who came into prominence at the death of Alexander the Great. The date of the Plautine adaptation of this play, as in the case of the Asinaria , Aulularia , Bacchides , 3 and Captivi , is quite uncertain, beyond the fact that it no doubt belongs, like almost all of his extant work, to the viii last two decades of his life, B. The Amphitruo is one of the five 4 plays in the first two volumes whose scene is not laid in Athens. Euclio's distress 9 at seeing any smoke escape from his house seems at least to suggest that Plautus may have borrowed the Aulularia from Menander.
Alcumena, who believes that she had made peace with him, gets angry. Now the real Sosia arrives with Blepharo. Amphitruo is upset about the treatment he was given by Mercury and verbally attacks the slave. Jupiter appears on stage, and he and Amphitruo try to detain each other. Blepharo cannot decide who the real Amphitruo is and leaves. Here our manuscripts continue. Jupiter goes inside because Alcumena is about to give birth.