When first performed, The Eunuch was a great success. Today, with its larger-than-life characters (particularly the boastful soldier Thraso and the toady Gnatho), its farcical and exaggerated humour and its vigorous action, it strikes the modern reader as the funniest and most Plautine of Terence's six comedies. It is also a play of effective and entertaining contrasts, particularly that between the two brothers Phaedria and Chaerea. Their very different attitudes to love and romance provide one of the play's chief points of interest, while Thais presents yet another picture of love, that of the professional courtesan. The fact that Thais, Thraso and the slave Parmeno are not quite the stereotypes we might expect to find in this type of play adds yet more to an amusing and thought provoking comedy.
I. Greek New Comedy; II. Comedy at Rome; III. The Life and Works of Terence
IV. Terence and his Critics; V. The Eunuch and its Relationship to Menander
VI. The Eunuch as a Roman Comedy; VII. The Text Bibliography
List of Metres
Parallel Latin text and English translation
April 2, 2000
Aris & Phillips Classical Texts