Gwałt na scenie (przypadek Terencjusza)

Ewa Skwara

Abstrakt

Rape on Stage (the Case of Terence)

In four of his six comedies the Roman playwright Terence uses rape as the key element of intrigue which in the plot of his plays leads to marriage and a happy ending. This poses a major problem to translators, not only because such a drastic act is incompatible with the genre of comedy but above all because it is always committed by the main protagonist – a young man, romantically infatuated, a character the audience or the readers are supposed to like. What is worse, the act of violence, often graphically depicted, which is assessed unequivocally according to our standards, within the convention of ancient comedy is relativized depending on the status of the victim. The harm done to slaves, courtesans and foreign women who cannot count on legal protection is considered humanum (‘human thing’) in comedy. Rape is considered criminal only after the victim is discovered to be a daughter of a noble family and therefore capable of legal marriage, which in turn gives the play a happy end. The challenge for the translator is not to turn the protagonist into a villain.

The term stuprum (rape/seducement) does not help the translator either, as it is very wide and denotes any extramarital sexual contact with a freeborn girl of a noble family, including consensual one. If the text fails to provide clear signals of the use of force, the translator faces the temptation to soften the nature of the act.

The article discusses the various strategies used by translators in order to present complex socio-legal realities of the ancient text which are incongruous with our standards, and to avoid anachronism in rendering the image of the main character – the perpetrator.

Słowa kluczowe: Terencjusz, komedia, stuprum, palliata, gwałt, przekład
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