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Sickness and Cure in Plautus’ Curculio

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Revisiting the Role of the Cook

image of Mnemosyne

In contrast to previous scholarship, this paper argues that Plautus’ use of a cook as a dream interpreter in Curculio should not necessarily be viewed as unsuccessful. Regardless of any putative Greek influence, it is evident that the Cook goes well beyond the bounds of his strictly defined stock role; he is artfully incorporated into the theme of sickness and cure traced out in the first half of the play, given that other characters also participate as actual or metaphorical patients and doctors. Such a theme fits a plot which calls for a sanctuary of Aesculapius in the center of the stage.

Affiliations: 1: University of Patras, Dept. of Theater Studies


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