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5 - Epidicus and Trinummus

The Roads Not Taken

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 December 2022

Emilia A. Barbiero
Affiliation:
New York University
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Summary

Chapter 5 looks at the failed epistolary exchanges in Epidicus and Trinummus. When these plays’ letters are sabotaged by the complicated workings of epistolary time, the plots inscribed within disappear, making them the apparent opposite of the embedded texts explored in earlier chapters. Rather than mise-en-abymes that reflect back upon the comedy a copy of itself, the letters in Epidicus and Trinummus represent dramatic alternatives to the present performance whose rejection is reified via the epistolary motif. Neither play, then, is strictly a letter play. But by the textual eschewal which diverts each comedy’s plot onto a different (or seemingly different) course, both Epidicus and Trinummus demonstrate the metatheatrical and metapoetic valences of the letters in Plautus.

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Chapter
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Letters in Plautus
Writing Between the Lines
, pp. 161 - 196
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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