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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 298

Pyrgopolynices is the namesake of the play. He is a soldier who is completely obsessed with his own accomplishments, minimal though they may be. He surrounds himself with lackeys who build him up and thinks he is a gift to all women. He kidnaps a woman from Athens at the beginning of the play.

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Artotrogus is a slave of Pyrgopolynices. He follows him around and agrees with everything he says but is aware that his master is not everything he thinks he is.

Philocomasium is a young woman from Athens. She is in love with Pleusicles but is forced to go with Pyrgopolynices to Ephesus. She pretends to have a twin sister at one point to convince a slave of the man who kidnapped her that she is not visiting with her lover in secret.

Pleusicles is a young man from Athens who is in love with Philocomasium. He travels to Ephesus and moves in with Pyrgopolynices's neighbor to save her.

Palaestrio is a servant of Pleusicles who leaves Athens to tell him about the abduction of Philocomasium. Unfortunately, he is captured by pirates who deliver him to Pyrgopolynices. He schemes with Pleusicles and Philocomasium to save himself and her from Pyrgopolynices, so they can return to Athens.

Periplectomenus is the neighbor of Pyrgopolynices. He allows Pleusicles to stay with him and helps trick his neighbor into releasing his captives. At the end of the play, he beats his neighbor when he arrives to visit Periplectomenus's "wife" that was hired to trick Pyrgopolynices.

Sceledrus is a slave of Pyrgopolynices. He observes the two lovers' meeting but is fooled when they pretend that Philocomasium has a twin.

Acroteleutium is the courtesan hired by Periplectomenus. She pretends to be in love with Pyrgopolynices to convince him to let Philocomasium leave.

Characters Discussed

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 495


Pyrgopolinices (pihr-goh-pol-ih-NI-sees), a vain and stupid braggart and professional soldier. Convinced that all women find him irresistible, he seizes a young Athenian girl, Philocomasium, and carries her off to his house in Ephesus. The slave of the girl’s sweetheart is, by coincidence, also in the braggart’s household. Pleusicles, the girl’s lover, takes up residence in the house of an old man next door to Pyrgopolinices. Pleusicles and his slave, Palaestrio, plot to free the girl. Pyrgopolinices is convinced that the wife of his neighbor is in love with him. A courtesan, playing the part of the wife, tempts Pyrgopolinices and asks him to make room for her in his house. Philocomasium pretends, when Pyrgopolinices tries to send her away, that she is overcome with grief at having to leave him. To get rid of her, the braggart presents her with expensive gifts and allows Palaestrio to accompany her. That night, Pyrgopolinices is escorted into the house next door, where he expects to meet his latest conquest. Instead, he is soundly beaten by the servants of the house, who have been lying in wait for him.


Palaestrio (pa-LEES -tree-oh), Pleusicles’ faithful slave. Hurrying by sea to inform his master that Philocomasium had been abducted, Palaestrio had been captured by pirates. His captors presented him to Pyrgopolinices. When Pleusicles arrives in Ephesus, Palaestrio contrives to dig a tunnel between the two houses so that the two lovers can meet. It is Palaestrio who takes...

(The entire section contains 793 words.)

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