"Taking the poet’s own comments in the prologue as a starting point, this article discusses the coherence and effectiveness of Terence’s Eunuchus, an extremely successful play in antiquity, by examining the characterization of the main protagonists in relation to the plot. Thus it can be shown that, in contrast to widespread criticism of the ending as surprising and a result of bad contamination, the conclusion of the comedy develops smoothly from the construction of plot and characters. For in this play the characterization of the main personages diverges slightly from the standard stereotypes of New Comedy; yet it is consistent throughout. Terence has thus created a ‘good Latin play’ with a logical structure, as it is required according to the words of the prologue; his soldier, parasite, courtesan, lover and slave do not conform completely to the types outlined in the prologue, which enables an unusual ending that does not contradict the overall plot."
Terence; Plautus; Roman comedy; contamination; comedy conventions; soldier; parasite; courtesan