W Somerset Maugham
3.64 out of 5
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Brilliantly adapting Greek New Comedy for Roman audiences, the sublime comedies of Plautus (c. 254 -184 bc ) are the earliest surviving complete works of Latin literature.
The four plays collected here reveal a playwright in his prime, exploring classic themes and developing standard characters that were to influence the comedies of Shakespeare, Molière and many others.
In The Ghost, a dissolute son who has squandered his father's money is thrown into disarray when he returns from abroad, a theme that is explored further in the comedy of errors A Three-Dollar Day.
In The Rope - regarded by many as the best of Plautus' plays - the shipwreck of a pimp and his slaves leads to the touching reunion of a father and his daughter, while Amphitryo, Plautus's only excursion into divine mythology, offers a cheerful account of how Jupiter became father to Hercules.