Plauti “somnium narratur”: Dreams in Plautus’ Comedy
This article examines the five dream episodes found in Plautus’ Miles Gloriosus, Rudens, Mercator, Curculio, and Mostellaria. Plautus’ dreams are the only source for analysing the way dream episodes were performed in Hellenistic dramas. The main argument is that dreams are a scholar’s manual for reading Plautus’ composition method. These narratives play with the idea of illusion and give the playwright the chance to move further than the text and the stage and to innovate by composing metaplays. The examination begins with the text and its intentional resemblance to Greek tragic pieces. It then focuses on the dreams’ key-function within the five comedies, in order to demonstrate that dreams were the most important metatheatrical device that Plautus had at his disposal.
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