CASINA The play Casina is a comedy from around 200-300 B.C. written by the well known playwright Plautus. The play is about a father, Lysidamus, and son who both fall in love with the same woman, a slave named, Casina. The father finds out that his son loves this woman and therefore sends him away. The wife of Lysidamus, Cleustrata, takes the side of her son and wants one of his slaves Chalinus to marry Casina. However Lysidamus wants his overseer, Olimpio, to marry Casina and therefore making her belong to Lysidamus. This is the basis of the play and a series of humorous events lead up to the conclusion. This essay will briefly summarize the play and also discuss some of the issues the play touches on along the way.
Lysidamus and Cleustrata decide to draw lots to see if Olympio or Chalinus will marry Cassina. Olympio wins and gets to marry Cassina.
This is very much to Lysidamus' delight. Soon after this Chainus hides in Lysidamus' house and over hears a conversation between him and Olympio. This conversation reveals their plot for the night of the wedding. Lysidamus is to sleep with her that evening in their neighbour's house. Olympio would bring her their after the wedding and the house would be empty. Chalinus reveals their plot to Cleustrata. She doesn't just come out and reveal that she knows their plot she decides to play some tricks on them instead, she even gets one of her maids, Paradalisca, to play a trick on Lysidamus. On the night of the wedding Chalinus dresses up as the bride to be. With the vale covering his face Lysidamus does not realize until he is about to sleep with her that it is a man. He flees the house with no robe on only to be greeted outside by his wife and her friends. Lysidamus is extremely embarrassed of what he has done and also that his wife knew their whole plot.
This play has many humorous parts, many of the humour is expressed through the slaves, Olympio and Chalinus. The disputes between these two was very humorous for example in the scene where they were getting ready to draw lots the two were take verbal shots at each other and also physical ones which turns out to be funny. Also Chalinus makes some humorous comments to himself while over hearing the conversation between Olympio and Lysidamus. A lot of the humour in this play could very much be enjoyed by women, which is different to see in a play that was created during this time frame. The tricks that Cleustrata plays on her husband may not have been as funny to men at the time it was performed as they would be to men today. Back then women were looked on as being equal to men, so therefore some men may not have found it quite as funny.
This play shows some of the down falls of the Roman society, for example the way slaves and woman were treated. Slaves were owned by there masters as if they were objects. In this play they even show that if a slave were to get married the wife would also become the masters possession. Its hard to grasp this way of living even though slavery existed in our world up until the 21st century. The way that woman are treated in the play is also very different from today. Lysidamus loved another woman and felt that this was a normal thing. Even when his wife found out she didn't take any action against him, until she found out his plot to sleep with her. In today's world if a man had feeling s for another woman the wife would for sure take action against her husband, whether that action be a separation for a while, or a divorce. In this she just gets angry with him, then she plays a trick on him. In today's standards she under reacted, but during the time period this play was created she most likely reacted some what realistically.