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Menaechmi; Or, the Twin-Brothers

3.36  ·  Rating details ·  655 ratings  ·  42 reviews
Considered to be Plautus's greatest play, "Menaechmi; Or, The Twin-Brothers" is the story of two twin brothers, Menaechmus and Sosicles, who are separated at age seven when their father takes Menaechmus on a business trip. This classic play, which provided the inspiration for Shakespeare's "Comedy of Errors," draws heavily on the theme of mistaken identity.
Paperback, 100 pages
Published January 1st 2007 by (first published -206)
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David Sarkies
Oct 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People who love a good laugh
Recommended to David by: David Hester
Shelves: comedy
A comedy of errors
5 October 2014

If it wasn't for the fact that this play was written over 1500 years before A Comedy of Errors I probably would have jumped up and cried that this guy had ripped off Shakespeare, however as it turns out it is probably the other way around, especially since it is well known that Shakespeare was hardly original with his writings. Still, it was good that I finally got around to reading one of the sources that Shakespeare used for his play (though he also added a number of el
Plautus' Menaechmi, Shakespeare's inspiration for his Comedy of Errors, is a fine rebuttal for anyone who thinks that the Romans had no sense of humor. When one twin brother is lost at the fair at the age of seven, his other brother is given his name, Menaechmus, by his grieving grandfather. When this brother becomes an adult, he searches for his long lost twin and at last comes to the town where he lives. All sorts of confusion ensues as the townspeople mistake one Menaechmus for the other. The ...more
Aug 23, 2016 rated it liked it
tfw Shakespeare rips off your work and his work is more famous (terrific play)
Oct 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Inspiration for Shakespeare's "The Comedy of Errors."

This is probably the best known surviving play by the ancient Roman playwright Plautus, who lived in the third century B.C.E. The Shakespeare play is one of his earliest, and is generally considered to be "minor Shakespeare," not one of his best. I gotta say that the Shakespeare play is much much better from the standpoint of modern theatre, either as an audience member or a player. It made me appreciate how innovative and superior
Mar 31, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, drama, latin
I read and translated this in a 300 level college course. Gratwick's restoration of the text is pretty standard and he clearly marks when he deviates from scholarly consensus. His footnotes are also helpful.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the classics and has some background on ancient comedy or for those with an interest in reading one of Shakespeare's source materials (A Comedy of Errors is an adaptation of Menaechmi, which itself is an adaptation of a no longer extant Greek
Ivy-Mabel Fling
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is funny but the plot is rather thin - we know that there are twins involved and that that is leading to misunderstandings and misplaced rants. Molière, who also took up this aspect of Plautus, shortened these incidents (to just one scene) as they can be a bit tiresome. The farce aspect is entertaining (particularly when one can see the play on stage rather than reading it) but the audience are really just waiting for the secret to be revealed.
Jun 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Typical Plautinian play. The long lost twin brother (called exactly like the first one) arrives in the city where the other brother lives. Everybody mistakes him for his brother. You can just imagine how this ends up. Plautus likes to play a lot with the twins concept (also seen in MIles Gloriosus with Philocomasia) and the results are really funny. It's nice to laugh at jokes 2200 years old, but still good. 3 stars and a half.
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: plays
This Roman play from the third century BC is the likely source of Shakespeare's "A Comedy of Errors." Since I do not read Latin I can only assume the original is as funny as this translation. What a hoot! It should be performed.
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Read for school, but honestly not my favourite play by Plautus
Melissa Jacobson
Sep 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Actual Rating 4.5

This was absolutely ridiculous and absurd and I found it pretty hilarious. Manaechmi is such a bizarre and quick play and it had me laughing out loud several times.
May 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-owned
The play that inspired Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors is a classic Plautine “switcheroo narrative.” (I want to claim that as a literary term of my own creation!) If it had been the first Plautus comedy I read, I think I would have liked it more, but since I’ve read about ten of his extant plays, it just feels like an average one that depends on a plot device that Plautus tends to overuse -- which is to say, it’s pretty much the only plot device he uses: the mistaken identity. As with his other work, ...more
Francine Maessen
Jul 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this play. I had a bit of a prejudice that all classic comedies are a bit... vulgair, but this was actually really decent, and funny! Just from the weird situations, and not because of especially dirty jokes. My translation however was a downside: is was done by J. Hemelrijk sr (No, I'm not gonna registrate a book every time it's not on Goodreads. I'm saving that for a very rainy day). The translation was supposed to be very modern, to make it appeal to a modern audience, but they ...more
I noticed this phenomenon in this play and Comedy of Errors (I'm reading them together for a class.)
We know Menaechmus I& II as well as Antipholus& Dromio of Syracuse (the twins of Ephesus may or not be aware of their respective brothers).
If I were searching the world for my long lost identical twin sister of the same name, and I stumbled upon a town where everyone knew my name and someone claimed to be my spouse, I would guess that I found the home of my twin. Of course, tha
Apr 13, 2012 rated it liked it
This classic comedy is a quick read, but it is not much fun. I liked it all right, and I smiled a few times, but it did not make me laugh out loud.

Read full review on my blog, Beyond Strange New Words.

RECOMMENDATION: Menaechmi is a classical comedy. As such it offers some thought-provoking topics concerning people’s behaviour alongside the central theme of mistaken identities.
Silvio Curtis
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Started reading for Latin Reading Group in college. Finished reading in grad school. Two identical twin masters with identical twin slaves get separated as children. A couple decades later one master brother goes looking for the other and brings his slave with him. Unfortunately, he runs into his twin's acquaintances before he runs into his twin. Much mistaken identity ensues, including the wrong slaves getting paired with the wrong masters, before they figure out what's going on.
Jan 08, 2014 rated it liked it
It was fairly amusing, but not the most hilarious thing I've read. I enjoyed it and the dialogue was funny. It showed aspects of Roman culture that were interesting to see as commonplace ideas within the setting.

All in all I wasn't terribly impressed or inspired by it. It was pretty short and I didn't take away any new lessons - but if you want a few (mild) laughs this is perfect.
Cristina MacKinnon
Nov 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Of the three Plautine plays that I read this semester, the Menaechmi was the only one to truly make me laugh at loud. With a theme somewhat like the Amphitruo, involving the confusing doubling of characters, the twin brothers in Menaechmi find each other at long last through a serious of slapstick escapades.
Mark Woodland
Jul 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very, very funny play, and one that anyone interested in the history of the theatre should read. This is Roman comedy at its best. It's also precisely the play that Shakespeare lifted The Comedy of Errors from, and an old musical called The Boys from Syracuse was also adapted from this play. All worthy
Faith Bradham
Welp, I don't exactly think Plautus is a highmark of literature, but he is the first extant Roman comedian we have, and Shakespeare did take an alarming amount of inspiration from his works, so I can't write him off.

As far the Menaechmi goes, while I find the humor a little underwhelming, my mind is boggled by the parallelism of the plot structure--so clever, Plautus!
Anna C
Mar 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: shakespeare
"The Menaechmi" is a little-known Roman play whose sole claim to fame is that it serves as the source material for Shakespeare's "A Comedy of Errors," which is, itself, a little-known play. We're being really hipster here, guys.
Mar 18, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in classical comedies and in shakespeare
Recommended to Juliet_CM by: Latin Literature teacher
Shelves: read-in-2010
Shakespeare based his "The Comedy of Errors" on this play by Plautus. It's entertaining, easy, quick and pleasant to read. Very near to our time, it could be easily performed today as characters and plot haven't changed too much.
Aug 23, 2016 rated it it was ok
A 2000-year-old sitcom episode.
Jan 23, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school, ebook
This was a fairly decent play, with a somewhat ridiculous and predictable plot. I'm still not quite satisfied with the resolution, though.
Jan 01, 2009 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Left over from CSJ days. Never read but saved for a rainy day! Should be soon...Love the classics.
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
While I appreciated this play in that thousands of year old jokes are still funny, the execution of this comedy of mistaken identity was more frustrating than amusing for me.
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
My favorite by Plautus. Had to read this for my Latin Lit and enjoyed it. I disliked all of the characters, really. However, the plot was humorous enough to make me not care!
Jan 20, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-read-2015
This was a fun play! So much of what I have read disses Roman theatre. But I think we need to take it for what it is--entertainment. So much like America today.
Andrew Price
Oct 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Roman comedy is great. It is not always easy to get through, but it is worth while.
Zara Shepherd
Jan 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: college
I actually quite enjoyed this, which is strange since I did it for college
Sep 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: school
An okay play, better than 'The Swaggering Soldier' but having too many similarities to feel like anything fresh after having read that prior.
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Titus Maccius Plautus (c. 254 – 184 BC), commonly known as Plautus, was a Roman playwright of the Old Latin period. His comedies are the earliest works in Latin literature to have survived in their entirety. He wrote Palliata comoedia, the genre devised by the innovator of Latin literature, Livius Andronicus. The word Plautine refers to both Plautus's own works and works similar to or influenced by his.