The Pot of Gold Questions and Answers
by Plautus

Start Your Free Trial

What is a summary of The Pot of Gold by Plautus?

Expert Answers info

Adam Mangum eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2018

write240 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

The Pot of Gold, a notable work of Roman comic master Plautus, concerns a miser named Euclio. He is consumed by an obsession with concealing his pot of gold from everyone in his social circle and household—even his beloved daughter, Phaedrium. Unbeknownst to anyone except an aged nurse, she is about to to give birth, having been raped by a drunken young neighbor named Lyconides. She is unaware of his identity.

Meanwhile, Lyconides's mother, Eunomia, is attempting to arrange the marriage of her wealthy brother Megadorus to an elderly, wealthy woman, despite his wish to marry the poor, but lovely Phaedrium. When Megadorus asks Euclio for the hand of his daughter in marriage, Euclio accepts with the condition that no dowry be included—suspicious as Euclio is of the motives of this suitor.

Lyconides, who also now wishes to be the husband of Phaedrium, realizes there is no time no waste. He admits his foul deed to his mother, along with his desire to marry Phaedrium. The newly enlightened Eunomia succeeds in convincing her brother to cancel his wedding plans. In the interim, a slave of Lyconides steals Euclio's gold while the latter is again attempting to hide it during preparations for the wedding.

Now it is Lyconides who asks Euclio for permission to marry his daughter. After some comic byplay concerning his gold, Euclio agrees. Lyconides's slave pulls him aside, telling him that it is he who has Euclio's gold and that he will only return it if his master will set him free. Lyconides agrees, the gold is returned to Euclio, and the young couple are married. Euclio, having finally come to his senses, gives them the gold as a wedding gift.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Lynnette Wofford eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2011

write7,057 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Business

The Pot of Gold or Aulularia by Plautus is a romantic Roman comedy based on a lost New Comedy written by the Greek playwright Menander. It employs stock characters including a miser, young lovers, a wealthy older rival for affection of a young girl, and clever slaves. The main characters are:

  • Euclio, a miser, father of Phaedria.
  • Phaedria, a young girl, daughter of Euclio, who is in love with Lyconides and pregnant with his child.
  • Megadorus, an old wealthy man who wants to marry Phaedria.
  • Lyconides, a young man in love with Phaedria.
  • Strobilus, a clever slave belonging to Lyconides.

Euclio is obsessed by a pot of gold that was originally owned by his grandfather. He is paranoid about people wanting to steal it and thinks that Phaedria's suitors are after the gold. Euclio agrees to let Megadorus marry Phaedria. Strobilus discovers where the pot of gold is hidden. Lyconides returns the gold to Euclio and persuades Euclio to let him marry Phaedria. Euclio eventually gives the young couple the gold as part of a happy ending. 

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial