Female characters in: Aristophanes and Plautus

‘Female characters are always stereotypes and make little contribution to the success of the plays of Aristophanes and Plautus.’

How far do you agree with this opinion


Both Aristophanes and Plautus do have many stereotypical females in their plays, including stock characters, but they also have characters that defy such stereotypes. For a play to succeed it must entertain and make the audience laugh.  They do contribute success to the plays as they add another dimension, allowing the situational humour of a man playing a woman, the verbal exchanges and attacks between men and women. They indeed also act as stereotypes and verbal jokes are made based on this which also adds to the success of the play. In both playwrights, women also help contribute to the play as they bring an element of deception.



  • Situational humour: man playing woman
  • Verbal banter/abuse between men and women
  • Deception
  • Stereotypes: verbal jokes played on them
  • Visual: the women overcoming the men: ridiculous and therefore funny?



  • isn’t a stereotype: deliberately stands out from rest of women: who are arguably more stereotypical. E.g at very start: claims if it was Bacchic convention they would all be there



  • is almost exclusively male: where the female is just a reference to Strepsiades wife: who is wearing away his resources


Swaggering Soldier:

  • Philocomasium could be said to take the prostitute role as a stock character or stereotype.
  • Same with Acroteleutium and Milphidippa
  • However these prostitutes are devious and cunning and help to bamboozle the male


Brothers Menaechmus:

  • Erotium another stereotypical prostitute
  • Menaechmus’ Wife is a very stereotypical role: indicated by her very name



Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s