Chremylus (KREH-mih-luhs), an old Athenian husbandman. Poor but honest, he has consulted the Delphic Oracle to determine whether his only son should be taught virtuous ways or the knavery and double-dealing by which successful men acquire their wealth. The god tells him to follow the first person he meets after leaving the temple. He does so, even though that person is a blind and wretched beggar. When this unfortunate reveals himself as Plutus, Chremylus conceives the idea of restoring his sight so that the God of Wealth can distinguish between the just and the unjust. Chremylus is a simple, friendly fellow, unselfish enough to invite his neighbors to share his good fortune, but he also admits that he loves money, and he loses no time in converting the divine favor he has won into hard cash and luxuries. Like all the playwright’s comic protagonists, he roundly condemns the evils of Athenian society and lashes out particularly against informers, grafters, and voluptuaries.
Cario (KAR-ee-oh), Chremylus’ slave. He is a broadly comic figure, well aware of his master’s shortcomings, wryly stoical about his own lot in life, and sometimes impertinent. He is perhaps at his best in describing a night in the Temple of Aesculapius, when he had pretended to be one of the holy serpents so that he could filch some pap from an old woman.
(The entire section is 591 words.)