Humour in the Special Features of the Costumes in the Comedies by Plautus
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Pieczonka, J. (2023). Humour in the Special Features of the Costumes in the Comedies by Plautus. Symbolae Philologorum Posnaniensium Graecae Et Latinae, 33(2), 81–102.


The article aims to discuss these elements of costumes which are mentioned in the comedies of Plautus but have been omitted yet in the studies on Plautine stage conventions. The first part of the text concerns the costumes which are worn by actors representing characters that have some special physical features. It appears that drunk characters always wear garlands, which point to their state. Big-bellied costumes are worn by male actors who play pregnant women (Alcmene in Amphitruo) but by those who present pimps during the performance, as well. Moreover, many Plautine slaves are rendered as stout, which, combined with big feet, adds much humour to running-slave scenes. The source of laughter lies not only in the padding used to recreate a big belly but also to show the illusion of large breasts, which are exaggerated in size. Such costumes were worn by male actors who presented meretrices, tibicinae and nutrices on stage. The costumes of foreigners consisted of a tunic with long sleeves, earrings, a headdress called causea, tiara and some kind of sandals. Many of these elements were grotesque, which, on the one hand, helped to increase the visibility of the costumes in the theatre, and on the other, contributed to the comicality of the performance. The article presents passages from the Plautine plays which contain such metatheatrical remarks about costumes used in the 3rd and 2nd century BC.
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