Explain Plautus' The Pot of Gold with reference to the context.
Plautus in this play picks up a number of themes that are of particular interest in his life and times. Firstly, there is the stock character of the miser, shown in Euclio, who is a figure who is ridiculed through his miserly nature. Then, in Megadorus, there is the bachelor who dreams of marrying a much younger, nubile virgin. Finally, there is also the time-honoured inclusion of servants showing themselves to be more intelligent than their masters. In all of these aspects, Plautus was writing this play in his context and creating a hilarious comedy as a result. It is interesting to note, though, that Plautus is much more gentle in terms of his presentation of Euclio than other playwrights were in their presentation of the stock character of the miser. Euclio on the one hand is shown to be so obsessed with his love of the pot of gold that even when Lyconides tries to confess that he had his wicked way with Euclio's daughter, Euclio automatically assumes he is confessing to stealing the gold:
Oh, oh,my God! What villainy am I hearing of?
However, at the end of the play, when he is able to give his gold to his daughter and son-in-law, he is shown to return to normal. Euclio, Plautus shows to the audience, is only as miserly as he is because of his experience of want and poverty, and is allowed to be restored to normal by the end of the play. The context Plautus was writing in then was a context that already had a tradition of literary stock figures and conventions. Plautus masterfully uses them for his own purposes to create a hilarious comedy in this play.