Theatre Essay

314 WordsJan 28, 20092 Pages
More than 600 years separates Antigone from "Dinner with Trimalchio." With Antigone, we are reading some of the great literature of the Greeks in the form of a tragic play. With "Dinner with Trimalchio" we are reading a section of a longer work in the form of a vulgar episodic narrative, written in the 1st century CE (Common Era). The book Satyricon was written in the first century of the Common Era and is set in a Roman city in Italy in about 50 CE. You can see a map of this area on page 1040 of your textbook. In Greek mythology a satyr is a creature that is half-man and half-goat, noted for its sexual appetite and large genitals when depicted on the Greek stage. When we see the name of the work, Satyricon, we should immediately think that we are going to read something that is like the satyrs--not at all serious and probably suggestive or sexual in nature. In the Satyricon, Petronius sets up a group of ne’er-do-wells, poor students traveling across the landscape mostly in search of adventure. The Satyricon is composed of a series of episodes (short pieces set inside a larger piece) built around the off-color adventures and journeys of these students. Note that Trimalchio, the main character, is a former slave, one who has bought his freedom. Note the attitudes Trimalchio has toward his guests, toward his own slaves, toward his wife, and toward the young boy. In the course of the story, he tells us how he has earned his fortune; often, he is only too eager to display all the material things his wealth has bought him. He also displays his lack of learning and disrespect for his own religious beliefs. His guests, however, are little better than he is. The story is also a snapshot of

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