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2. Key Themes: Food, Sex, and Violence
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about the basic human desires that drive the action of Plautine comedy: food, sex, and violence.
In this course, Professor John Wilkins (University of Exeter) provides a provide introduction to the comedy of Plautus, with a special focus on two plays in particular: The Brothers Menaechmus and The Swaggering Soldier. After a brief introduction to Roman comedy, the first half of the course concentrates mainly on The Brothers Menaechmus, with modules on the basic human desires that drive Plautine comedy, the importance of the Italian comic tradition, the figure of the parasite, and the theme of identity. In the second half of the course, we focus more on The Swaggering Soldier, with modules on the audience, the parody of tragedy, and the figures of the boastful soldier and the clever slave.
John Wilkins is a Professor in Classics at the University of Exeter. He is a specialist in the history of food and medicine in Greco-Roman culture, with current interests in literature (eg comic drama) and medicine (especially nutrition). The texts he is currently working on are the Deipnosophistae (Philosophers at Dinner) of Athenaeus and On Maintaining Good Health of Galen, both written in the last 2nd/early 3rd centuries AD, at a time when Greek authors were reviewing the previous millennium of Greek culture.
Cite this Lecture
Wilkins, J. (2018, August 15). Plautus: The Brothers Menaechmus and the Swaggering Soldier - Key Themes: Food, Sex, and Violence [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/plautus-the-brothers-menaechmus-and-the-swaggering-soldier/key-themes-food-sex-and-violence
Wilkins, John. "Plautus: The Brothers Menaechmus and the Swaggering Soldier – Key Themes: Food, Sex, and Violence." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018, https://www.massolit.io/courses/plautus-the-brothers-menaechmus-and-the-swaggering-soldier/key-themes-food-sex-and-violence