Terence, The Woman of Andros

LCL 22: 44-45

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The Woman of Andros

for the possibility that they came from Menander’s Woman of Perinthos. Whatever the truth of this, the Woman of Andros is the least well balanced of Terence’s double plots. Charinus and Byrria play too little part, and are too lightly characterised, to provide an effective contrast to Pamphilus and Davus. Charinus does have two scenes of jealous conflict with Pamphilus, but his main function (as Donatus remarks) is to provide someone for Philumena to marry at the end of the play.

Though the solution of the plot depends, as often, on a fantastic coincidence, The Woman of Andros does have some effective scenes and some interesting characterisation. Pamphilus makes two romantic declarations of love and loyalty and is probably the most romantic of all lovers in Roman comedy; at the same time he feels a genuine conflict between his love and his duty to his father, and when faced with his father’s anger agrees to accept his bidding, even if it means losing his girl. Simo, like many angry fathers, is suspicious of the plotting of his slave on his son’s behalf, but he is not as stupid as some of his Plautine counterparts; so far from being easily deceived, he practises a deception of his own, and, by an interesting twist, eventually deceives himself into disbelieving what is in fact the truth. He is introduced as a father who has always wanted to believe the best about his son, and the scene where, through a misunderstanding of the situation, he is finally brought to disown Pamphilus approaches pathos. Davus acts the part of the traditional tricky slave but risks becoming the bungling slave (one of Terence’s favourite variations on the character) when his original plan goes wrong; he does however redeem himself in the excellent crosspurpose


The Woman of Andros

scene in which he accuses the puzzled Mysis of “planting” the baby in order that her denials may be the more convincing to Chremes’ ears.

Select Bibliography Editions and Commentaries
  • Posani, M. R. (Bologna, 1990).
  • Shipp, G. P. (Oxford, 1960).
  • Goldberg, S. M. “The Dramatic Balance of Terence’s Andria.Classica et Mediaevalia 33 (1981–1982): 135–143.
  • ——— “The duplex comoedia,” in Understanding Terence. Princeton, 1986: 126–135.
  • McGarrity, T. “Thematic Unity in Terence’s Andria.” Transactions of the American Philological Association 108 (1978): 103–114.
  • Steidle, W. “Menander bei Terenz.” Rheinisches Museum 116 (1973): 303–347.
DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.terence-woman_andros.2001