This paper has been written in an attempt to examine the effects that the greed of Euclio, in Plautus’s play, The Pot of Gold. In the midst of his efforts to safeguard his material wealth, Euclio is unaware of the loss of Phaedria’s chastity…
The paper tells that the greed of the main character, Euclio, plays a major role in the progress of the play. Euclio’s greed results in most of the action that happens on the play, including the knowledge that Lyconides’s servant gains regarding the pot of gold that eventually leads to his freedom. The very title of the play suggests the importance of wealth in the play. The pot of gold, a symbol of the greed of man, which runs through generations in the family of Euclio, causes most of the action that happens in the play, which results in the misunderstandings that occur. These misunderstandings between the characters in the play are symbolized by the breakdown of hierarchies, where it is the servants who are more aware of the actions that take place and in most cases, hold the reins to the action. The prologue of the play that is an account of the events that have led up to the situation where Euclio is obsessed with the pot of gold that has been provided to him is articulated by Euclio’s household deity, Lar Familiaris. The wealth that has been given to Euclio is a gift. Thus, what leads to the action of the play, paradoxically, has been attained without any human action. After this, however, Euclio's constant guarding of the wealth, that is a result of his greed, results in, ironically, the loss of the wealth and almost results in the marriage of his daughter to a much older man, who believes that Phaedria is a virgin. Euclio's preoccupation with his gold prevents him from paying any attention to the loss that his daughter suffers. He is merely anxious to get her married off, without much loss of his own newly acquired wealth. Euclio loses his human side and is anxious to get rid of his daughter, and his only concern is to not part with the pot of gold that he feels is what the rich and middle-aged Megadorus has set his eyes on. As soon as this obstacle is removed, he happily agrees to the marriage, even though he is suspicious at every level, of an attempt on the part of Megadorus or his servants, to rob him of the gold. Ironically, it is this fidgety disposition that eventually leads to the loss of the gold that is re-acquired only through the efforts of others. Euclio, who is suspicious of others, forgets that human relations are based on love, rather than wealth, is reminded of the need for love, when Lyconides provides him with the gold that had been stolen. He does so for the love that he felt for the woman who was carrying his child, Phaedria. This is not the only relation of love that Euclio rejects in the play. The play opens with Euclio chasing away his trusted servant, Staphyla, who had clearly been serving his family for a very long time since she had been Phaedra's nurse. Even while she is being turned out of Euclio’s house, she is more concerned about the change that had come about her master and the concealment of Phaedria’s pregnancy. The need for maintaining relationships that are based on love and affection, that Plautus talks about in this play, are relevant even today when wealth and greed makes one forget the relations that make life easy and livable. Not only does Euclio lose status at a personal level, partially losing the rights that a father earns by performing his duties well, he also loses social status, by neglecting his duties as a father. The reader is not told of whether it is Euclio’ ...
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