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Plautus’s The Haunted House Analysis

The dimension of character type is well documented in Plautus’s literature. More precisely, most of the characters in the comedies are portrayed as heroic figures through their actions that prove that they are smarter than their masters. In Plautus and his Latin epithet, Servus Calli, who is a low-level slave, is depicted as skillful, cunning, and a gossipy narrator who continuously bridges the gap between the characters and the audience.

In Plautus’s The Haunted House, the concept of being a loyal and good slave is captured in the opening pages. In this particular scene, Grumio confronts the ‘bad’ slave for misappropriating the master’s (Theopropide) wealth with women, booze, and general debauchery. Although, in reality, the ‘clever’ slave misbehaves more than the ‘bad’ slave, his ability to avoid punishment makes him stand out to the audience because his actions are likely to have no consequences.

Maybe, the Roman audience of that time can be considered to be less bothered by how an individual behaved, such as a slave, provided they prove to be quick-witted as well as entertaining. Plautus’s works were responsible for positioning the audience to empathize as well as aid the position of the intelligent slave. This, according to Plautus, was responsible for direct audience address and meta-theatrical techniques. His argument aimed at placing the freedom of man to the slave and vice versa and this brought about criticism from his contemporaries. Despite all this, one thing remains constant, and that is Plautus’s success in proving that regardless of inherent criticism and controversies in his work, his audiences still enjoyed his stories. The fact that in his stories slaves were seen to make a fool of their masters did bring a lot of controversies, and this did not hinder Plautus from entertaining his audience. If Plautus had not been able to position his audience and make them appreciate the individuals they deemed inferior (slaves), his works could not have been a success, and he could not be celebrated to this day.



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