The Pot of Gold Summary
by Plautus

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The Pot of Gold Summary

The play begins with a monologue by Euclio's household deity. He tells us that Euclio's grandfather once entrusted him with the guardianship of a pot of gold. The god has protected the secret of the pot of gold until now. He chooses to reveal the location of the treasure to Euclio because of the latter's daughter, Phaedria.

The household deity tells us that Phaedria has pleased him by her devotion to him. He also reveals that Phaedria has been ravished by a gentleman of high rank. The only reason the deity has given up the location of the gold is to ensure Phaedria's marriage to Lyconides, the man who ravished her.

Meanwhile, Euclio is obsessed by his newfound pot of gold. In his paranoia, he fears that even his servant, Staphyla, will learn of its whereabouts. Meanwhile, Staphyla knows that Phaedria is pregnant, and she despairs over her mistress's fate.

We next meet Megadorus and his sister, Eunomia. The siblings talk about marriage; Eunomia wants Megadorus to marry. However, Megadorus declares that he has no use for ladies of rank with high dowries. Instead, he wants Phaedria, Euclio's daughter. Ironically, the wealthy Megadorus is also Lyconides's uncle.

Having decided on his course of action, Megadorus goes to meet Euclio to ask for Phaedria's hand in marriage. For his part, Euclio thinks that Megadorus has discovered the secret of his treasure, and he panics. Megadorus, of course, has no inkling of the treasure. He lays out his suit to Euclio, who declares that he doesn't care if Megadorus makes a match of it with Phaedria. The only thing he won't provide is a dowry.

The two agree on the terms, and Euclio tells Staphyla that Phaedria is to marry Megadorus that day. The servant is distressed to hear this, for she knows that her mistress is already carrying Lyconides' child. Meanwhile, Megadorus hires a caterer and entertainers for the wedding.

As for Euclio, he is such a miser that he only purchases some frankincense and a wreath of flowers for his daughter's wedding. As the cooks and entertainers begin arriving, however, Euclio becomes progressively more anxious. He thinks that Megadorus has set up the cooks and servants to steal his gold. So, Euclio decides to carry his pot of gold around on his person.

Meanwhile, Megadorus is quite pleased with his match. He asks Euclio to have a drink to celebrate, but the latter refuses. Instead, Euclio makes his way to the temple of Faith and hides his pot of gold there. What he doesn't know, however, is that Strobilus (the servant of Lyconides) is spying on him for Lyconides's sake.

When Euclio leaves, Strobilus tries to look for the gold. He doesn't find it and is disappointed. Meanwhile, Euclio doubles back to check on his gold and catches Strobilus looking around the temple. He attacks Strobilus and searches him. However, he finds nothing on Strobilus and has to let the servant go. Next, Euclio hides his gold at the grove of Silvanus. This time, Strobilus manages to steal the gold from the grove.

Meanwhile, Lyconides confesses all to his mother, Eunomia. He tells her that he wishes to marry Phaedria, since it was he who violated the young woman. Eunomia agrees to help her son. For his part, Lyconides tries to reason with Euclio, who is aghast that Phaedria won't be marrying the wealthy Megadorus, after all. As for Megadorus, he renounces his claim on Phaedria.

Euclio's frustration is further compounded when he discovers that his pot of gold is gone. He blames Lyconides, who vehemently denies any knowledge of the gold. Meanwhile, Strobilus tells Lyconides what he has found. For his part, Lyconides orders Strobilus to hand the gold over. The two have an argument, but Lyconides prevails. He returns the gold to Euclio, who is so happy to get his treasure back that he agrees to the marriage between Lyconides and Phaedria. Ironically, Euclio later bequeaths the pot of the gold to the couple as a wedding gift.

Summary

(Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

The grandfather of Euclio, an Athenian miser, entrusted a pot of gold to his household...

(The entire section is 1,681 words.)