The Braggart Soldier

by Plautus

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Last Updated on September 26, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 510

Pyrogopolynices surrounds himself with people who are forced to glorify him. His slave, who knows his master is full of himself and not the hero he pretends to be, is nonetheless forced to glorify him. When Pyrgopolynices asks where his slave is, Artotrogus responds:

Here he is; he stands close by the hero, valiant and successful, and of princely form. Mars could not dare to style himself a warrior so great, nor compare his prowess with yours.

In order to trick Sceledrus after he sees Philocomasium meeting with Pleusicles, they pretend that she has a twin sister. She playacts as her fake sibling, saying,

I had heard that my own twin-sister is here in Ephesus; I came here to look for her.

It takes a while, but Sceledrus eventually takes the bait and agrees that no one has wronged his master. Palaestrio convinces Pyrgopolynices to send his captive home with the gifts he has given her to soften the blow of him forcing her to leave.

Why consult me what you are to do? So far as I am concerned, I have told you by what method that can be effected in the gentlest manner. The gold trinkets and female clothing with which you have furnished her, let her keep it all for herself: let her take it, be off, and carry it away: tell her that it is high time for her to go home; say that her twin-sister and her mother are come, in company with whom she may go straight home.

Ultimately she leaves with her goods and Palaestrio. Once Pyrgopolynices agrees to let his captives go, he thinks about the positive things that Palaestrio has done for him in setting up his relationship with his neighbor's wife. He reflects on the actions of his slave and muses about the benefits he has appeared to have wrought. 

before this affair, I had always thought that he was a most rascally servant; still, I find that he is faithful to me. When I consider with myself, I have done unwisely in parting with him. I'll go hence at once now to my love here: the door, too, I perceive, makes a noise there.

However, he already agreed to let Palaestrio and Philocomasium go away back to Athens. To make sure that Pyrgopolynices will not take revenge on his coconspirators, Periplectomenus forces him to promise that he will not do so. Since he is in the middle of beating Pyrgopolynices, the oath is made. He says, 

Now take an oath that you won't injure any person for this affair, because you have been beaten here today, or shall be beaten hereafter, if we let you go safe hence, you dear little grandson of Venus.

His slave tells Pyrgopolynices that what happened to him was good at the end of the play, and Sceledrus agrees, arguing,

I think it was properly done. If it were so done to other lechers, there would be fewer lechers here; they would stand more in awe, and give their attention less to these pursuits.

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