Argumentative free essay : Pseudolus
Every story in literature has a theme or themes to pass to the audiences (Tomlin, 131). One of the themes of Pseudolus is the hatred that Ballio has against the cook. In his remarks, Bablio clearly shows contempt against the cook and the kind of food the cook serves. Ballio wonders why there is a shortage of cooks that he is unable to find a better one to replace the current one (Pseudolus, 920). He even mentions that the current cook deserves to cook food for the dead. He wonders why there are no more qualified guests to cook food that will please his guests more. The cook tries to make Ballio understand that though he is paid cheaply, the kind of food he cooks is the best for a human being an in fact, more valuable to human body than Ballio believes. However, there is arrogance in Ballio’s response when he suggests further that the cook could be even stealing some food from the kitchen. In essence, the case of Ballio and the cook demonstrates how cooks are often mistreated by their bosses.
Another theme of the essay is the offensiveness of Simia. Simia arrives at home and when his father asks him where he has been, he replies “where I wanted to go” (Pseudolus , 919). His father tells him that he would like to give him some advice related to army job he is about to be engaged in. Simia replies tells his father that he need not give him advice and in any case, he can give his father some advice too. Simia’s father warns him of using naughty tine but Simia justifies himself suggesting that that character is necessary if he is to become a military man. In all his remarks, Simia seems to counter his father’s remarks and when his father asks him many questions, he responds by saying that “you kill me with your everlasting questions” (Pseudolus, 920). Simia is not offensive to his father alone. Occasionally, he is aggressive to Ballio in his remarks.
The characters in literature stories are usually portrayed differently (Griffith 438). Generally, characters portray cases of complexity. Samia’s offensiveness is typical character of young people, who eventually turn the grown offensiveness against the people who are close to them, such as parents. The character of Simia is complex and he easily influenced by the characters of others including Ballio., as observed when Samia pays Ballio some cash in exchange for a pimp (Pseudolus, 1015). His father, Pseudolus seems to be assisting Simia in every way possible to enable him to become the best candidate for the military job. He proposes to give Simia advice, which Simia rejects. He tries to take Simia through some physical practices to prepare him for interview, but Simia rejects his father’s control. He annoys his father, who in response, stops bothering. After realizing this, Simia starts getting attention of his father by asking questions related to the military job. He asks his father “how do I look? is this kit alright?” (Pseudolus, 920)
In most case literary works employ language in a performative rather than a constative way in using figures of speech to emphasis certain aspects (Miller, 41). In the usage of language Keywords and metaphors are used to stress on particular issues. One of the key words used in the drama is “polymachaeroplagides” (Pseudolus, 1014). Ballio hands over a sealed letter to Simia and asks him to guess whose seal it has. Ballio suggests that it comes from “polymachaeroplagides.” This word, which is used severally in the drama, is used to describe an imaginary individual, who is a military officer. The complexity of this word is used in the drama to describe how the sender of the letter is brave and brilliant. Another key phrase used in the drama is “treating your guests like cattle” (Pseudolus, 790) this phrase is used by the cook in response to Ballio’s remarks that the kind of food he prepares is unpleasant for Ballio’s guests. The cook uses the word to describe the kind of food prepared by other cooks, which is full of greenstuffs, which are prepared by other cooks. The phrase describes raw foodstuffs such as cabbage, spinach, Sorrels and beet. In the use of this phrase, the cook shows his anger sparked by the hatred remarks made by Ballio.
The way elements or objects within a story are arranged to represent something else or something larger is called symbolism (Julian et al, 96). A key symbol in Pseudolus is poor relationship between bosses and servants. The drama clearly demonstrates how bosses in our societies abuse their servants. The cook’s sentiments that “when gentlemen come to hire a cook, none of them is looking for the best and most expensive; they want the cheapest. One Drachma is all those poor creatures want to pay … I must have les than two drachmas or I am not getting on y feet.” These sentiments demonstrate how servants are deprived financially by their bosses in our societies.
Mystery in literature refers to an awe expressing discovery that portrays the truth. Garrity (v) explains mystery as the discovery of truth that is rather surprising and with a sense of amazement, in the drama Pseudolus, there are several cases that portray mystery. In Pseudolus (863) there is a well elaborated case of mystery. Ballio all along has been confronting Cook over what he terms as bad food or food with no tastes. According to Ballio the Cook is less experienced and does not meet conditions to be a good Cook for him “ if you call yourself a cook, how comes it you were the only one still waiting to be engaged?” (Pseudolus, 790) In this case Ballio, portrays the cook to be worthless and inefficient, and claims to be paying him much for nothing. The mystery in this case is observed when Ballio reveals what exactly he pays Cook as his salary. “Do you think I’m going to pay you two drachmas for the sort of nonsense” (Pseudolus, 863). All along, the audience expects Cook to be paid a fortune out of his extensive work and good cooks. It’s amazing to learn how Ballio claims it’s too much to pay Cook two drachmas for his work. In fact, the audience may take this as exploitation and be sympathize with Cook.
Another mystery appears in the dialogue between Simia and Pseudolus. At first, the dialogue between the two starts on constructive mood where friendliness and boding is brought out in their dialogue. However, the dialogue drives into a mystery and the audiences get the true picture of the intention of the two. After the two exchange a pleasant discussion, the audience is treated to their real intention. Simia, “… now come show me which is the pimp’s front door,” Pseudolus, “the third from here”(Pseudolus, 961). This mystery reveals the true characters of the two as promiscuous, and shifts the dialogue from the friendly tone portrayed initially. Ballio, “when I get the money, you can have the woman” (Pseudolus, 1015). The mystery of Simia’s visit to Ballio as introduced by Pseudolus is evident. It brings about the theme of promiscuity among the characters.
Garrity R., Nancy. Classic Middle School Literature: Mystery. NY: Good Year books, 2000
Miller, H. Joseph. On Literature. NY: Routledge, 2002
Wolfreys, J., Robbins, R. & Womack, K, Key concepts in literary theory, London: Edinburgh
University Press, 2006
Tomlin, R. S. (1987), Coherence and grounding in discourse: outcome of a symposium, Eugene, Oregon, June 1984, New York: John Benjamins Publishing Company
Griffith, K., Writing Essays about Literature, New York: Cengage Learning, 2010
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