The most beloved hero of Greek myths was Hercules, a mighty toiler who saved the gods from destruction, and people from terrible monsters, but who did not make himself a kingdom or happiness. The Greeks composed songs about him first, then tragedies, then comedies. One of such comedies also reached us in the Latin processing of Plautus.
Actually, the very Hercules here on the scene yet. It’s only about his birth so far. It should be conceived by the god Zeus himself from the mortal woman Alcmene. To make the hero-savior become mighty of the mighty, a long work is needed – that’s why Zeus orders the Sun not to go up for three days, so that he has a triple night at his disposal. Zeus is not the first time to descend with love to earthly women, but here the case is special. Alcmene has a husband, the commander of Amphitryon. She is a woman not only beautiful, but also virtuous: she will not change her husband for anything. Hence,
Zeus must appear to her, taking the form of her lawful husband. Amphitriton. And that this is not hindered by the real Amphitryon, Zeus takes with him the cunning God of Hermes, the messenger of the gods, who on this occasion takes the form of an Amphitryon slave named Sosia. The play of Plautus is Latin,
The play begins with a prologue: Mercury enters the stage. “I am Mercury, Jupiter and I came to show you tragedy, do not want tragedy? Nothing, I’m God – turn it into a comedy!” Here on the stage – the city of Thebes, King Amphitryon went on a campaign and left his wife at home. I went to see her, and I’m on guard with him: he’s in the form of Amphitryon, I’m in the form of a slave. But just now Amphitryon and the real slave are coming back from the campaign – you need to be on your guard.
Sosia enters with a lantern in her hands. He is merry – the war is over, the victory is won, the extraction is seized. Only the night around is strange: the moon and the stars do not rise, do not go, but stand still. And before the royal house is someone strange.
“Who are you?” – “I am Sosia, the servant of Amphitryon!” – “You’re lying, it’s me – Sosia, Amfitryon’s slave!” – “By Jupiter, Sosia is me!” “By Mercury, Jupiter will not believe you!” Word for word, it comes to a fight, Mercury’s fists are heavier, Sosia moves away, breaking his head: “Am I this or am I?” And on time: Jupiter comes out of the house in the image of Amphitryon, and with him Alkmena. He says goodbye, she holds him; he says: “It’s time for me to go to the army, I just came home for one night secretly, so that from the first I heard about our victory.
The night ends, the sun rises, and a real Amphitryon appears with a real Sosia. Sosia tells him that there is a second Sosia in the house there, he spoke to him and even fought; Amphitrion does not understand anything and swears: “You were drunk, and in your eyes it was double, that’s all!” At the door sits Alkmena and sadly sings about separation and longing for her husband. How, here’s the husband? “How glad I am that you returned so soon!” – “Why soon? The campaign was long, I have not seen you for several months!” – “What are you saying, have not you just been with me and just left?” A dispute begins: who of them is lying or who is one of them? And they both call witnesses for the ill-fated Sosia, and the head goes round. “Here is the golden cup of your booty, you just gave it to me!” – “It can not be that someone stole it from me!” “Who then?” – “Yes, your lover, slag!” Amfitrion scolded. He threatens his wife with a divorce and goes for witnesses to confirm: at night he was not at home, but at the army.
Jupiter monitors these quarrels from his sky – from the second tier of theatrical construction. He feels sorry for Alkmen, he descends – of course, again in the form of Amphitryon – calms her: “It was all a joke.” As soon as she agrees to forgive him, a real Amphitryon appears on the doorstep with a witness. First he drives away Mercury-Sosia, and Amfitrion is beside himself: how, the slave does not let his master into the house? Then Jupiter comes out – and as two comedies collided in the beginning of the comedy, so now two Amphitryons collide, showering each other with abuse and blaming adultery. Finally, Jupiter disappears with thunder and lightning, Amphitryon falls unconscious, and Alcmene in the house begins labor.
Everything ends safely. A good servant runs out to the unhappy Amphitryon, the only one who recognizes and recognizes him. “The miracles,” she tells him, “The birth was without any pain, twins were born at once, one boy as a boy and the other so big and heavy that they were just put in the cradle.” Thence two huge snakes appear, crawl to the cradle, all in horror, and a big boy, for nothing that a newborn, stands up to meet them, grabs them by their throats and strangles them to death. ” “Indeed a miracle!” Amphitryon marvels at himself. And then above it in height is Jupiter, finally in its present divine form. “I shared with you the bed of Alcmene,” he says to Amphitryon, “the oldest of the twins is mine, your youngest is yours, and your wife is clean, she thought I was you.” This son of mine,