Are there such things are perfect endings? In Terence’s, The Girl from Andros, was his first Roman playwright, which he adapted through translation through Menander’s play. The comedy is formatted like many of Terence’s plays: a complex father-son relationship, a scheming slave, and eventually a happy ending. The “all’s well that ends well” motif is evidently clear in Terence’s first comedy; however, in getting there this play uses the relationship between a slave and his master to show variation in the theme.
The comedy pairs a devious father, Simo, in a battle of wits against his scheming slave, Davos. Due to his son engaging in a less than respectable relationship with a girl from Andros, Simo feels obligated to set up an elaborate plan to trick his son, Pamphilus, to marry his wealthy friend Chreme’s daughter Philumena. However, Simo knows that his clever slave Davos will do anything he can to help Pamphilus outwit him. Therefore, Simo explicitly says to Davos: If I find out that you’re trying any trickery today over this wedding, to stop it happening, or that you’re wanting to display how clever you are in that regard, I’ll flog you with the whips and send you to work at the mill till you’re dead, Davos! (lines 199-200). Knowing the repercussions, Davos devises a plan to help not only Pamphilus get out of this arrangement, but also allow Charinus, a young Athenian in love with Philumena, to marry his love. As a result of his excessive ingenuity, Davos realizes Simo has outmaneuvered him.
As the plot thickens, Simo is so suspicious that he expects deviousness in everyone. This leads to him not being able to accept the straightforward evidence that he sees and hears for himself but instead interprets it as being of a plot against him. Simo even goes as far as to suspect plots where none exist. When Crito, cousin of Chrysis, arrives from Andros, he brings along the critical information that Glycerium is in fact the long lost daughter of Chremes. Pamphilus: … My one request is this: please do not think that his old man was put up to this by me.
Let me clear myself and bring him here to meet you. Chremes: It’s a reasonable request; give your consent. Simo: All right. I’m happy to agree to anything, as long as I don’t find that I’m being tricked by him, Chremes! (Lines 899-902) Simo is so convinced that people are trying to mislead him that he believes his own son would devise a scheme. However, once it become clear that Glycerium is another daughter of Chremes, Simo and Chremes are delighted to let Pamphilus marry Glycerium. Since Charinus fortunes depended entirely on those of Pamphilus, he too was allowed to marry his love Philumena.
The battle of wits between Simo and Davos creates variation in Terence’s comedies, that leads to the Shakespeare’s motif of “the all’s well that ends well.” The scheming slave Davos and the sneaky father ended up creating a perfect ending and Pamphilus and Charinus both got to marry the women they love.
Terence, and Peter Brown. The Comedies. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2006. Print.
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Topic: The Devious Acts that Lead to an Ideal Ending
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