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|Title:||Portrayals of the Virgo in Plautine Comedy|
|Keywords:||Roman Comedy;Virgo;Characterization;Latin literature;Plautus|
|Abstract:||This thesis presents a literary study of three subtypes of the maiden stock character in Plautine Comedy: the silent virgo, the meretrix-virgo, and the virgo in transition. The comic maiden is remarkable in Roman Comedy, in that she is the female protagonist of most if not all of the plays in which she is a character, although she sometimes never appears onstage. The aim of this thesis is to investigate how the playwright manages and enrichens his portrayals of the virgo despite her limitations, and to analyze her significance in the broader themes of her plays. This has been done by detailed character analyses of three of Plautus’ plays, each of which features a virgo who represents one of the three subtypes of the comic maiden (i.e. Phaedria from Plautus’ Aulularia, Palaestra from Plautus’ Rudens, and Alcmena from Plautus’ Amphitruo respectively). Through the examination of the characters’ speeches and conversations, including those presented by the maiden herself when she appears onstage, it is evident that the virgo is a central figure in tensions and conclusions driving the plot. Because of her contradictory circumstances (i.e. her premarital pregnancy, slave status, or change in stock role), this integral function is contingent on her piety and innocence, which must be maintained throughout the play. Finally, the propitious resolution of the plot comes about in the restoration of the maiden’s status and the promise of marriage between her and the male lover. Because of this, she is also deeply connected to the underlying themes of morality and communal bonds governing the play. This research highlights the valuable and central role of a character in Plautine comedy, whose on-stage presence is often limited or even non-existent.|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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