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Outline

Despite the fact that Roman Comedy was a derivative genre, tracing its origins back to the New Comedy of Greece, the different circumstances of Rome and the existence of native Italian comedy ensured that it soon took on characteristics of its own.

The course aims to examine the shifts that took place as Roman playwrights adapted Greek plays and the techniques that made their products a genre in its own right.

Following a survey of the more technical factors of play construction, the course will concentrate on the works themselves, examining the types of plot developed, the characters involved and how they are presented, the devices employed to extract humour, together with the differences between Plautine works and those of Terence.

By the end of the module you will have gained

  • an in-depth appreciation of the diversity to be found in Roman Comedy
  • an ability to analyse critically both New Comedy’s dramatic content and the characters involved
  • a capacity to formulate arguments and to assess critically the interpretations of modern scholars