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A: Titus Maccius Plautus Pf:c.189 bc, Rome Tr: 1694 G: Latin com. in verse S: Before the home of Daemones near Cyrene on the African coast, 2nd c. bc C: 8m, 3f, extrasDaemones is an ageing gentleman from Athens whose daughter was kidnapped in infancy. Having given away his fortune through generosity, he lives in humble circumstances near Cyrene on the African coast. His daughter, now called Palaestra, has been brought by her pimp to Cyrene, where a young Athenian Plesidippus has fallen in love with her. While attempting to sail to Sicily, the pimp and his slaves are shipwrecked by a storm invoked by the divine Arcturus, and Palaestra is washed ashore at Daemones' home. She and her maid take refuge in the neighbouring temple of Venus, where her pimp attempts to seize her, but she is defended by Daemones and Plesiddipus, who takes the pimp off for trial. When a trunk tied with rope is fished from the sea, evidence is found in it of Palaestra's childhood, so father and daughter are reunited, and she is now free to marry Plesiddipus.

A: Titus Maccius Plautus Pf:c.189 bc, Rome Tr: 1694 G: Latin com. in verse S: Before the home of Daemones near Cyrene on the African coast, 2nd c. bc C: 8m, 3f, extras

The Rope is the lightest and most joyful of Plautus' comedies. The one villain, the pimp, is quickly disposed of (with the help of divine intervention); for the rest there is a rural setting, the reuniting of father and lost daughter, and the fulfilment of young love. Above all, we see how nobility of mind is rewarded (this time without the help of scheming slaves), especially when Daemones, insisting that the trunk be returned to its rightful owner, is richly repaid by discovering his lost daughter. Plautus' play provided the source material for Lodovico Dolce's The Ruffian (1560), and Thomas Heywood's The Captives (1624), and elements of it are found in Shakespeare's The Tempest and in his later romances. Plautus' The Rope has nothing to do with Eugene O'Neill's one-act play The Rope (1918), nor Patrick Hamilton's murder-story Rope (1929), made into a tense film by Alfred Hitchcock.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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