Leeches off the main characters by emptying their tables
The Tricky Slave – Servus Callidus
Always finds a solution to the young master’s love problems (often humiliating his young master’s father) and tends to earn his freedom for doing so
Young Lover – adulescens
Falls in love with a courtesan he cannot have, master of the tricky slave. Thinks of nothing except the girl he is in love with
Courtesan – Meretrix
Serves little more than as an object of the young lover’s affection, leading figure in love with the young lover. Sometimes she is bought by the young lover, sometimes she turns out to be freeborn, discovers this, and marries the young lover.
OR greedy and older
Or Virgo – a young maiden
Love interest of the adulescens, doesn’t get much stage time, beautiful and virtuous with little personality. Treated as a prize
Old man – Senex
Often the father of the young lover, authority figure who gives wisdom to the young man and is very traditional – this view often contrasts with the young lover’s, causing conflict that is usually resolved by the old man giving in to the young lover.
Braggart Soldier – Miles Gloriosus
Loves himself more than anything else
Very stupid, cowardly, and gullible
Interested in the same girl as the adulescens most of the time
Maid/nurse – Ancilla
Minor character used as a tool and messenger
Matrona – Mother
Lover her children but is tempermental towards her husband
Does not have to be devoted and loyal, but sometimes is
Discussion/Transition: What about our characters in the play so far? Who is the Parasite? (Peniculus) The Tricky Slave? (we don’t know yet) The Adulescens? (Manaechmus I or II? We don’t know yet!) The Meretrix? (Desiree) Virgo? (Wife) Senex? (Old Man – we haven’t met him yet) Miles Gloriosus (There is none) Ancilla (The Maid) Matrona (none).
Why do playwrights use stock characters?
What stock characters do our modern playwrights and screenwriters use? (possible answers: The valley girl, the cheerleader, the jock, the nerdy girl who takes off her glasses and she’s beautiful, etc.)
Continue reading, following the same pattern as before.
Wrap-up: 5 minutes before the end of the class, stop the reading and ask the students which character they identify with most so far in the play and why.