Amphitrion - Titus Maccius Plautus (approx. 250-184 BC e)

Literature of antiquity and the Middle Ages - Summary - 2019

Titus Maccius Plautus (approx. 250-184 BC e)

The most beloved hero of Greek myths was Hercules, a mighty worker who saved the gods from destruction, and people from terrible monsters, but did not gain the kingdom or happiness for himself. The Greeks wrote about him first songs, then tragedies, then comedies. One of these comedies came to us in the Latin processing of Plautus.

Actually, Hercules is not here on stage yet. It is only a matter of his birth. Zeus himself, the mortal woman of Alkmen, must himself conceive. For the hero-savior to become mighty of mighty, a long job is required - therefore Zeus orders the sun not to go up for three days, so that he has a triple night. Zeus is not for the first time descending with the love of earthly women, but here the case is special. Alkmen has a husband, the commander of Amphitrion. She is not only beautiful but also virtuous: her husband will not change anything. So, Zeus should come to her, having taken the form of her lawful husband. Amphitrion And in order not to be disturbed by the real Amphitrion, Zeus hides with him the cunning god Hermes, the messenger of the gods, who on this occasion takes the form of Amphitrion's slave by the name of Sosia. Plavt’s play is Latin, so the mythological heroes are renamed Roman: Zeus is Jupiter, Hermes is Mercury, Hercules is Hercules.

The play begins with a prologue: Mercury goes to the stage. "I - Mercury, we with Jupiter have come to show you the tragedy. Do not want a tragedy? Nothing, I am God - I turn it into a comedy! Here, on stage, - the city of Thebes, King Amphitrion went on a hike, and left his wife home. Here Jupiter came to her, and I'm with him - in guard: he is in the form of Amphitrion, I am in the form of a slave. But just now come back from the campaign and the real Amphitrion and true slave - you need to be alert. And here's the slave!"

Soya enters with a lantern in his hands. He is merry - the war ended, victory was won, prey was captured. Only a night around is somewhat strange: the moon and the stars do not rise, do not go in and stand still. And before the king's house there is someone strange. "Who are you?" - "I am Sosia, the servant of Amphitrion!" - "Vreish, it's me - Sonia, the servant of Amphitrion!" - "I swear by Jupiter, Sosia is me!" - "I swear to Mercury, Jupiter will not believe you! "Word for word, it comes to fights, Mercury is more fists, Sosia is removed, scratching his head:" Is it me or not me? "And on time: Jupiter is just out of the house in the form of Amphitryon, with Alkmen with him. He is forgiving, she holds him; he says: "It's time for me to fight, I've only secretly come home for only one night, so that from the first you will hear about our victory." Here's a golden cup of our booty forgiveness, and wait for me, I'll be back soon!

The night is over, the sun is rising, and there is a real Amphitrion with true Sosia. Sosia tells him that there is a second Sosia in the house, he spoke with him and even fought; Amphitrion does not understand anything and curses: "You were drunk, and in your eyes you have become dual, that's all!" At the threshold sits Alkmena and sadly sings about separation and grief over her husband. How is that husband? "How glad I am that you have returned so soon!" - "Why soon? The trip was long, I have not seen you for several months! "-" What do you say! Have not you just been with me and have just left? "A dispute begins: who of them is lying, or who of them crazy? And both call on the witnesses of the ill-fated Sosia, and the head goes round. "Here is the golden cup from your prey, you gave it to me just now!" - "It can not be, it's someone who stole it from me!" - "Who?" - "Yes, your lover, lover! "- Amphitrion is angry. He threatens his wife with divorce and leaves for witnesses to confirm: at night he was not at home, but at a military station.

Jupiter follows these quarrels from his sky - from the second tier of the theatrical construction. He is sorry Alkmen, he descends - of course, again in the form of Amphitrion, - comforting her: "It was all a joke." As soon as she agrees to forgive him, the real Amfitrion with the witness appears on the threshold. At first it is driven away by Mercury-Sonia, and Amphitrion is beyond himself: how does a slave not let into the house of his master? Then Jupiter himself emerges - and as at the beginning of the comedy collided two Sosia, so now there are two amphitrons colliding, sipping each other into penance and accusing him of adultery. Finally, Jupiter disappears with thunder and lightning, Amphitrion falls without feelings, and Alkmen in the house begins the birth.

Everything ends safely. A good maid runs out to the unfortunate Amphitrion - the only one who recognizes and recognizes him. "Miracles! - she tells him. - Generations were without any pain, a double was born at once, one was a boy like a boy, and the other was so big and hard, hardly laid in the cradle. There, wherever two huge snakes appear, go crawling to the cradle, all in horror; and the big boy, the gift of the newborn, stands up to meet them, grabs them for throats and strangles to death. " "Imagine a miracle!" - Amphitrion came to see himself. And then above it in height is Jupiter, at last in its present divine form. "This is what I shared with Alkmen's bed with you," he refers to Amphitrion, "the eldest of twins, my younger one," and your wife is pure; she thought that I was you. This is my son, and your stepdaughter will be the greatest hero in the world - rejoice!