chapter  14
An Architectural Creation Myth Borrowed From The Phenomenology Of Music
ByStephen Parcell
Pages 13

This chapter emphasizes the good intentions of an architectus doli, and the ethical benefits of their transformative, deceptive, deliberative and representative deeds. By appropriating features of the surrounding milieu into the fictional plot, Plautus' architect-like characters invite audiences to compare real and represented places, and to consider the drama underway as an illuminating mimesis of their mutually transformative potential. Together with transformation, deception and deliberation, the architectus in Plautus also practices modes of representation. Plautus further uses architectural imagery to draw ethical arguments. Like slaves in Roman society, architects were mercurial mediators: moving between echelons of society, between public and private domains, and between noble intentions and underhanded means. Given twenty-first century anxieties over the authority, respectability, and relevance of architects, the architect-slaves of Plautus provide a timely model for theorizing persistent ambiguities of status inherent to the architect's role.