Abstract The reception of Plautus plays an important role in the development of Lessing’s theory and practice of comic writing. However, research on this has been done so far mainly from the vantage point of Plautus’ Nachleben while its effects on Lessing’s own work and ideas have been underresearched. In this article, I will take into consideration Lessing’s rather neglected early play Der Schatz, which is based on the Plautine Trinummus, I will place it against the background of Lessing’s early production, and subject it to a close reading, compared with its antique hypotext. The analysis will demonstrate that the modifications in dramatic structure and the characters of the play only in part depend on changed dramatic conventions, while they mainly respond to the need that the dramatic action be adapted to the ethical norms which inform social relationships and behaviors in Enlightenment Europe. Thus, since the very beginnings of his dramatic production, Lessing engages in comedy-writing and at the same time reflects on the essence of comedy, on the one hand, seeking in the Roman author the universal psychological mechanisms that produce laughter and humoristic effects, and on the other hand, trying to outline a modern idea of comedy, built on the sensitivity and the moral conceptions of his own time.
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||http://dx.doi.org/10.3368/m.111.2.177|
|Codice identificativo ISI:||WOS:000472584100001|
|Titolo:||Ancient Comedy Reloaded: Aesthetics and Moral Reflection in Lessing’s Rewriting of Plautus|
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