When Menaechmus first appears, he is having an argument with his wife who demands to know where he is going and what he will be doing. Menaechmus gets angry at her, claiming she has no right to know and should be happy with the things she has and with the comfortable life she lives. When Menaechmus thinks he is alone, he takes a dress from under his own clothes and talks to himself about giving the dress to his mistress. The image of the dress is important because it suggests the way men treated women, buying them with nice dresses or with servants. This also portrays women as people who only want to live a comfortable life and have material things.
Soon after arriving in Epidamnus, Messenio tries to convince Menaechmus II they should leave the city as quickly as possible. One of the reasons why Messenio wants to leave the city is because Epidamnus had a bad reputation of being a city where everything is accepted. Adultery, prostitution, sexual assault, drinking in excess, lies and violence were all characteristics of the city. Through this description, Epidamnus is presented in the same terms as the Biblical Sodom and Gomorrah.
Menaechmus II's Threats
Menaechmus II uses powerful and over-the-top imagery to convince the Father that he is crazy so he will leave him alone. He conjures up an image of himself in a chariot preparing to "trample down this stinking old toothless lion," urging the horses forward with "the clatter of your hoofs!" (93). He pretends to have a fit, saying Apollo dragged him from the chariot. Earlier, he had threatened the Wife with burning her "eyes out with flaming torches" and "[punching] her in the face with my fists unless she gets the hell out of my sight" (91). These images are violent and excessive but ultimately hilarious in their ridiculousness.
The Twins Together
Messenio espies the two brothers occupying the same space, and sees an image of utter likeness. The audience is meant to be struck by this image as well, for it is a happy payoff after watching numerous scenes of mistaken identity.
The Brothers Menaechmus Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Brothers Menaechmus is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.