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Theatre History in Grossmont College Production and Terrence Especially Compare & Contrast Essay

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Updated: Aug 6th, 2019


The history of art has evolved through the year with notable differences and classification of literature work. Though the times and society has changed and more the traditions and technology, it is amazing how works of the roman empire periods could bear same characteristics as works written our today’s post modernity era.

It seems history is here with us as today’s artists draw inspirations from works of the 3rd and 5th century and use the same inspirations to address the ironies and follies of today’s life.

The purpose of this paper is to highlight the extent to which writers can/ has drawn inspiration from historic writers given the evolvement of the society and technology. This historic comparison will major on a recent play by Grossmont College production ( Tata Twins) and the works by famous writers Plautus and Terrence especially The Menaechm brothers by Plautus.


The plot of both works is based on a family breakup that makes two similar young children separate. Because of the family breakup, each of the children grow up with different personalities and character based on the surrounding in which they grow. Meanwhile, one of the guardians passes away and one of the twins is left with the responsibility of finding the other (Harris 1).

Going to the location where the other twin resides, the errand twin causes commotion and confusion because of their likeness. No one can know who is who until the end of the play where the two appear on stage and people get to distinguish them.

Evident from the plot is the similarity of the themes shared in these two pieces of literature. Though the two works are in different periods in literature, they have found a common ground to share themes. The very first motive that keeps reappearing is family.

In both the family of the twins breaks for some reason causing the children to grow in different localities and under different guardians. One of the children’s life is shaped by the biological parent while the other seemingly by the society.

Another similar theme is that of nature and physical pursuits. Macy and Menaechmus are presented as people who love to pursue fame. They both love fashion and are portrayed as lovers of clothes (Hodgman 98). Each of them presents himself to the public in the perfection on a classified appearance. The other aspect is that of their pursuit of natural affection.

In Tata twins, Macy has a husband whom she cheats on while Menaechmus has a mistress. The writers use this to highlight the social situation of the successful in financial terms an aspect that has lead to the ruin of their sexual lives. This aspect is highlighted when we observe the behavior of Stefani and Soscicles.

Thirdly, both pieces highlight the theme of social conflict (Hough 49). When Stefani travels to search for her sister, she finds herself being thought to be Macy.

When people responded to her as they would to Macy, (they asked her in surprise “what are you wearing?”), she kept thinking how people in Los Angeles are rude and as a result, they keep conflicting. Also in the case of Soscicles, upon reaching Epidamnus, and people mistaking him for Menaechmus frequent conflicts happen before they realize who is who. The lifestyles from the two social groups were the centre of the conflict.

In the two plays, the choice of characters is almost the same with names changing perhaps because of the setting and time. The first similarity is the use of twins who in both cases are identical. The writes use these characters to bring out the role of the society in building the character of the person.

Each of the twins grew very differently with a different personality, style and values. In addition, we can see a case of character transfer whereby all the characters in the former piece of work- the Menaechm brothers have typical characteristic, values and personality representation in the later Tata Twins.

The stylistic presentation of the two works is of perfect similarity. Both writers have heavily used language not only as a medium of communication but also the have manipulated language to a tool of expressing messages and implying meanings in different dimensions (Connors 180).

In these particular pieces of work, the authors have used language as a tool to express the people’s culture, to draw ironies, and to satirize actual events that are contrary to the norm of values of the society. In addition, language has been used in both pieces of literature is as part of the literature. The use of language not only as medium of communication but also as a coherent part of the piece of work is heavily used in these two plays.

Furthermore, the two writers have employed heavy use figurative language. First, the whole story is a paradox. The writer use language to show the paradox of life in the city by drawing a comparison between lifestyles of the prominent people- in Tata twins Macy.

By comparing the complex indulgences of the prominent musician Macy and the simplicity of the remote girl Stefani, the writer is able to show us the paradox of life. It is the case of Plautus work (Connors 183). He compares the complicated life of Menaechmus with that of Soscicles to show paradox of life.


Despite all the similarities that are evident from the two pieces of work, it is important to acknowledge the differences that make these two pieces unique. Primarily is the difference in the setting I which they were written. The work by Plautus was written in the third century during the roman rule. The political setting was in the Roman Empire and the stage of art was not much developed (Guy 23).

The gods of the Romans where treated with respect and honor at this time. On the other hand, the “Tata twins” has been written in a setting from the contemporary world where freedoms and liberties have extensively been emphasized (Heather, 56). The religious view is free and everyone has the freedom of worship and speech.

Another difference arises in the social economic factor in the society. At the time when Plautus was writing his work, merchants were the richest people in the society. Success at the time was based on where you were born and so poor people raised poor families making success a matter of fate (Guy 22). At that point in time was also slavery where rich people would buy slaves to work for them.

The gap between the rich and the poor was great with the extremely rich controlling the economy and in a way the society. This setting is contrasted with the setting of the time the “Tata twins” was written. Many changes have taken place and law no longer allows slavery in the society. In addition, the economic has evolved to capitalism where success us believed to be a function individual efforts and not fate.

Another oblivious difference is the state of technology in which the two writers lived. Plautus wrote the Menaechm twins at a time in history when technology was at its primitive stage. Industrialization was yet to come and the means of production was the primitive labor-intensive methods e.g. black smiths used to make their artistic objects manually (Guy 28).

Furthermore, at this time in history, communication was not yet developed and the primitive hand delivered letters were the major means of communication. In contrast, the “Tata twins” is written at a time when technological advancements have been made. Industrialization has developed from just a means of production to extreme engineering for the purpose of innovation (Heather, 59).

Furthermore, the communication industry has evolved to one that is complex with information transfer being almost immediate. Innovations have hit the market with cell phone and social networks being the latest.

Finally yet importantly are the social problems facing the society at the time each of these works was written. In the case of Menaechm brothers, the period was one of political anarchy and civil unrest that caused extreme poverty and violence. Violence and barbaric values were prevalent in those days with the economy almost collapsing (Guy 32).

On the other hand, political stability characterizes the period the “Tata twins” was written. However, several social problems are prevalent in the society to be more precise drug and substance abuse and crime. Though poverty is still a social problem at the time of this work, the situation is under control with the government intervening to provide basic needs to those who cannot afford them.

What I would do if I suddenly found out that a world-famous rock star Lady Tata was my missing twin?

If I were to find out that such a person is by any chance my missing twin upon evaluating all available information, at this age when w have never been emotionally attached, I as a person would find it easy to leave her alone. Notwithstanding, the absence of emotional attachment would not override the need of association especially by blood. In such a case, my first step would to join probably all the social networks in the market.

By doing so, I will have secured a chance to know her personally and individually before the public and her friends even know, since being a famous person they definitely in our time must have an account with the social networks.

The second step would be to introduce myself through the social network. The first introduction would be simple and less detailed but persuasive. The aim would be to create an interest in her yet safeguarding me from the unpredictable response. Later on, I would send her my photos.

This would be to create confidence and gain her trust- something that prominent people rarely give. This would be accompanied by an explanation concerning how I knew her and reasons as to why I may desire to see her.

After creating a rapport and I am satisfied concerning her acceptance to the fact, then I would arrange for our first meeting. The information I obtain from the social network should enable me to make inferences into her personality and thus I would be prepared to meet her as I person “I know”. This first meeting would the signal of the accomplishment of the reunion.


The ancient artistic literature is not outdated because as in this case, artists can draw inspiration from these works and come up with more exiting pieces of work that are fit for the society today. In view of this, artist should not discard prior pieces as old and useless in the society.

Works Cited

Connors, Christine. Monkey Business: Imitation, Authenticity, and Identity from Pithekoussai to Plautus: Classical Antiquity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Print.

Guy, Halsall. Barbarian Migrations and the Roman West. UK: Cambridge University Press, 2007. Print.

Harris, William. Humanities and Liberal Arts. Middlebury College, May 1996. Web. <www.middlebury.edu/~harris>.

Heather, Peter. Empires and Barbarians: The Fall of Rome and the Birth of Europe. London: Oxford University Press, 2010. Print.

Hodgman, White. Verb Forms in Plautus. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011. Print.

Hough, John. The Development of Plautus’ Art Classical Philology30. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,1935. Print.

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