Ptaki w komediach Tytusa Makcjusza Plauta


  • Anna Jurcewicz


Birds in Titus Macius Plautus ’ comedies

Analysing T.M. Plautus’ comedies, I managed to select these birds which appear in particular functions. Sometimes they are well known in mythology, used as gods’ attributes, e.g. an eagle was devoted to Zeus Men. 144, etc. We find fortune-telling birds, like a woodpecker, crow, raven or an owl Asin. 260, cock Asin. 624. Sometimes birds’ names are used by the comedy writer to create nicknames that show people’s negative character, e.g. a stupid person is represented by a cuckoo Persa 282. Very often diminutives appear: a little sparrow Asin. 666, Asin. 694, Cas. 139, quail and little hen Asin. 666, dove Asin. 693, Cas. 139, little duck, swallow and little jackdaw Asin. 693–694. Most of these phrases are borrowed from erotic vocabulary which can be simultaneously characteristic for colloquial language. Plautus uses birds’ names in comparisons, e.g. lovers are represented as birds Asin. 215–226, a vulture stands for a robber and a catcher of inheritance Truc. 337, wild birds appear as a symbol of a free man Capt. 116. In that way he makes an impact on spectator’s senses and imagination. Due to a specified function of birds in his comedies, we can see social relations and life of Romans in Plautus’ times, for instance, birds in the Roman cuisine, e.g. a cock. Variety of birds alcedo, accipiter, anas, aquila, columba, cornix, corvus, coturnix, cuculus, gallina, gallus, hirundo, luscinia, miluus, monerula, passer, passer marinus, parra, picus, turtur, upupa, vultur, which appear in his works, shows multiple original motives, which contributed to the attractive content of his plays. Birds’ names used by Plautus broadened a spectrum of dramatical means essential for the vis comica construction. They also contributed to a rich representation of protagonists created by the poet. Functions and symbols of birds are visible in the works of the following writers: Cicero, Horace, Seneca, Apuleius, and modern comparisons to birds often are of Plautus’ genesis.






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