Plautus' Pharmacy

Dorota M. Dutsch

in Feminine Discourse in Roman Comedy

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780199533381
Published online September 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780191714757 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Classical Literature and Gender Theory

Plautus' Pharmacy

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This chapter explores a register of speech that the 4th-century commentator Donatus called blanditia. A detailed analysis of the distribution of the lexical markers of this register (the modifier amabo and the address with mi/mea) in Terence and Plautus reveals that blanditia is primarily a discourse implying intimate connection. Such speech relies on an in-depth knowledge of the needs of others, or an illusion of such knowledge, which can be used to comfort or to harm. Roman comedy compares blanditiae to the practice of veneficium — a ritual that disrupts personal boundaries and undermines an individual's control over his (or her) own body. Just like venenum — poison that could either heal or harm — the discourse of blanditia turns out to be a flexible and dangerous tool.

Keywords: blanditia; lover; prostitute; new comedy; venenum

Chapter.  16026 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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