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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Menaechmi, a Latin-language play, is considered by many as Plautus' greatest play. Its title is sometimes translated as The Brothers Menaechmus or The Two Menaechmuses.

The Menaechmi is a play about mistaken identity, involving a set of twins, Menaechmus of Epidamnus and Menaechmus of Syracuse. It incorporates various Roman stock characters including the parasite, the comic courtesan, the comic servant, the domineering wife, the doddering father-in-law and the quack doctor. As with most of Plautus's plays, much of the dialogue was sung.

Adaptations and influences

This play was the major source for William Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors, which was subsequently adapted for the musical theatre by Rodgers and Hart in The Boys from Syracuse. A similar line of influence was Carlo Goldoni's 1747 play I due gemelli veneziani ("The two Venetian twins") (also adapted as The Venetian Twins in 1979). Shakespeare's Twelfth Night also features mistaken twins, the sister dressed as a boy.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Menaechmi" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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