Trimalchio's Dinner Party Essay example

Trimalchio's Dinner Party Essay example

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Trimalchio hosts’ a farewell dinner which is a dinner given to gladiators who were about to face wild beasts in the arena. Trimalchio is a Semitic name based on the word for “prince” and he is a high living individual. However, a well-born Roman reader would not approve of his attitudes and behavior. You get a good sense of what Trimalchio is like early on in the story when he is in the middle of talking to Menelaus and snaps his fingers for a slave to bring him a pot. When the slave brings the pot to Trimalchio he peed in it, asked for water and then used the slave’s hair to dry his hands. (19) Trimalchio had many slaves, some of their jobs were miniscule(petty) that it consisted of them standing near the dining room door and saying “right feet first!” as people enter. Not only do his slaves have (silly) jobs, they are repremended for the littlest of things. When a slave dropped a cup by mistake at dinner Trimalchio responded by saying “go kill yourself, you useless piece of trash.” (37) A well-born Roman wouldn’t appreciate how Trimalchio treats people, it is puzzling he treats them so poorly since he was once a slave himself.
Romans value their customs and have a great respect for the ancient Roman laws and customs, Trimalchio on the other hand did not. In Trimalchio‘s dining room, on the door post, there was a bundle of rods and axes with a ships beak coming out of the bottom. On it was inscribed “For Gaius Pompeius Trimalchio”. In the Romans eyes this was considered almost illegal because bundles of rods and axes were carried by lictors and Trimalchio was not one. A well-born Roman would feel disrespected and not be appreciative that Trimalchio had this display over his door post because he didn’t have the ranki...


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...mption leads him to rude manners and even insults towards guests.
Trimalchio ends the night by kissing a good looking slave causing a fight between him and Fortunata. Trimalchio says some really rude and hurtful things about Forunata over such a little incident. Trimalchio makes it difficult for anyone to get close to him or trust him because he can change his whole in just a moment. Trimalchio then tells his whole life story and then lays on the couch and told his guests to pretend he’s dead.
The Romans drank a lot of wine but not straight or quickly. “Diluting wine and drinking with restraint were ordinary courtesy. The purpose of a dinner party was relaxed enjoyment, not getting drunk.” (166) A Roman was supposed to manage this temptation. If Trimalchio and his guests didn’t consume so much alcohol then maybe the night would have gone a lot smoother.


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