Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)


Micio (MEE-shee-oh), an easygoing Athenian bachelor. After adopting Aeschinus, the son of his austere brother Demea, he becomes an indulgent, permissive parent. His wise handling of Aeschinus’ escapades finally convinces his brother of the wisdom of ruling by kindness rather than by fear.


Demea (DEE-mee-uh), Micio’s unyielding brother, who is dedicated to strict discipline in the upbringing of children. He is the father of Ctesipho, and his severity makes the boy fearful of his parent. Learning through experience the folly of trying to rule by fear, he tries leniency and generosity, to the gratification of all concerned.


Aeschinus (EHS-kih-nehs), the son of Demea adopted by Micio. A report that Aeschinus has entered a house and abducted a woman causes the distressed foster father to be accused of parental overindulgence. When the break-in is finally and satisfactorily explained, the foster father’s leniency is justified and Aeschinus is permitted to marry Pamphila.


Ctesipho (TEH-sih-foh), Demea’s son. He is in love with a slave girl he cannot afford to buy. Angered by his father’s severity, he, with the help of his brother Aeschinus, abducts the girl in defiance of parental restraint. His father, finally realizing the error of his disciplinary methods, gives his approval to Ctesipho’s passion.


Sostrata (SOHS-trah-tuh), Pamphila’s mother.


Pamphila (PAM-fih-leh), Sostrata’s daughter, loved by Aeschinus.


Sannio (SA-nee-oh), a slave dealer.


Hegio (HEE-jee-oh), an old Athenian and a friend of Demea.


Syrus (SIH-ruhs) and


Phrygia (FRIH-jee-uh), slaves freed by Micio.

The Brothers Bibliography

(Great Characters in Literature)

Arnott, W. Geoffrey. Menander, Plautus, Terence. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press, 1975. After a short summary of Terence’s environment and career, Arnott explores such major critical issues as Terence’s “contamination” of his Greek sources, his use of innovation, and the quality of his work. The chapter on Plautus and Terence begins with a bibliographical essay.

Forehand, Walter E. Terence. Boston: Twayne, 1985. Chapters on Terence’s life, his literary career, and the theater of his day are followed by analyses of the plays. The Brothers is treated at length, with special attention given to its themes. Extensive notes, select bibliography, and index are included.

Goldberg, Sander M. Understanding Terence. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1986. Several references to The Brothers. Topically organized and well indexed. Discusses the implications of the education theme and includes a discussion of the play’s political significance.

Sandbach, F. H. The Comic Theatre of Greece and Rome. London: Chatto & Windus, 1977. The chapter on Terence is an excellent starting point for study of the dramatist. Includes discussion of Terence’s use of sources in The Brothers. Appendix includes useful glossary of Greek and Roman terms, as well as a brief bibliography.

Sutton, Dana F. Ancient Comedy: The War of the Generations. New York: Twayne, 1993. Analyzes The Brothers and shows the unique quality of Terence’s comedy, in contrast to that of Menander or Plautus. Agrees with Goldberg that Terence lacks a spirit of fun but asserts that Terence’s basic problem is philosophical. Includes bibliographical suggestions.