Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 301
Plautus’ The Pot of Gold (Aulularia) is the Latin adaptation of a Greek play. The action takes place on the streets of Athens, but the theme that the play highlights is Roman. Like all classical drama, The Pot of Gold is written in verse. The play is a satire that depicts the anxiety that greed, avarice, and miserliness brings. A deity reveals a pot of gold to Euclio so that he can use the money as dowry for his daughter Phaedria's wedding. The plot revolves around Euclio’s attempts to protect the gold and hide it from the others. He is anxious that someone may steal it and gets suspicious of everyone around him. He maintains a farce of poverty even after finding the pot of gold. Euclio decides to bury the pot in the woods, but Lyconides' servant, Strobilus, finds the pot and steals it. Lyconides is the young man who loves Phaedria and fathers her child. Eventually, Euclio gets his pot of gold and Lyconides gets Phaedria. After the wedding, Euclio has a change of heart and gifts the pot of gold to the newly wedded couple.
The play depicts a patriarchal society. Arranged marriage is a custom in which parents decide upon their daughter's future husband. The parents offer a dowry to the prospective bridegroom, according to their socio-economic status. Euclio offers Phaedria's hand in marriage to the wealthy Megadorus, only because he does not demand a dowry.
The play depicts the practice of slave labor that was prevalent in Roman society. Slaves were either captured from the losing side in a battle or bought from neighboring provinces like Turkey. The Roman economy depended upon the exploitation of slaves. They were made to manage household chores and public services. They were engaged in administrative work and private industries.
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