Theatre Database
Home | Ancient Theatre | Medieval Theatre | 16th Century | 17th Century | 18th Century | 19th Century | 20th Century


A brief analysis of the play by Ben Jonson and adapted from Plautus

The following article is reprinted from A Dictionary of the Drama. W. Davenport Adams. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1904.

This comedy by Ben Jonson, founded on the Captives and Miser of Plautus, was acted by the children of the Queen's Revels at the Black Friars, and first printed in 1609, though, says Gifford, "it must have been written ten or twelve years before." It is alluded to in Meres' Palladis Tamia (1598). "The title," says A.W. Ward, "was a proverbial expression." "The play," he adds, "is essentially a comedy of intrigue ... a romantic comedy in Shakespeare's earlier manner, although in general devoid of poetic afflatus [inspiration]. Yet there were opportunities for poetic pathos both in the faithful love of Rachel for Paulo, and in the friendship of Chamont and Camillo. The character of the miser Jaques is a mere copy ... The comic personages (Juniper, Onion, etc.) are uninteresting." "This," says Genest, "is on the whole a good comedy, but Jonson has introduced some low characters who are not very entertaining. It would perhaps have been better if he had borrowed more from Plautus."

Back to Ben Jonson