A: Titus Maccius Plautus Pf: 185–184bc, Rome Tr: 1852 G: Latin farce in verse S: Before the home of Lysidamus, 2nd c. bc C: 3m, 2f, extrasLysidamus, an old lecher, is determined to spend a night with his wife's maid, Casina. In order to achieve this, he arranges for his slave Olympio to marry her. However, his plan is thwarted by another slave, Chalinus, who wants to marry Casina himself in order to further the interests of his master, the son of old Lysidamus. A lot will decide which of the slaves shall take Casina as his bride. To Lysidamus' great relief, Olympio wins the lottery. Lysidamus' ensuing excitement arouses his wife's suspicions, so she and Chalinus plot together to hinder Lysidamus. First, they put it about that Casina is mad, then Chalinus disguises himself as the bride, with hilarious and vulgar consequences. Lysidamus is shamed into confessing his lecherous desires to his wife and is forgiven, provided he undertakes to remain chaste henceforth. The prologue and epilogue indicate that Casina is in fact a nobly born foundling, whose identity will be revealed thus allowing her to marry Lysidamus' son, but none of this occurs in the action of the play.
A: Titus Maccius Plautus Pf: 185–184bc, Rome Tr: 1852 G: Latin farce in verse S: Before the home of Lysidamus, 2nd c. bc C: 3m, 2f, extras
Although it is one of the lesser known of Plautus' comedies, Casina is notable as one of the most lively and vulgar of his works, which led to its frequently being performed after the author's death. Indeed, it is possibly the piece which shows the closest link to the Latin farces that preceded the Roman New Comedy, which differed from the Old Comedy of Aristrophanes in its greater realism and concentration on domestic events. Based on a lost Greek original, Cleroumenoe of Diphilus, it provided a model for the recurring comic figure of the ridiculous old lecher, who is usually (though not here), outwitted by a younger lover: Pantalone in the commedia dell'arte, Morose in Jonson's Epicene, Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor, and several of the comic characters of Molière (e.g. Arnolphe in The School for Wives).