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Trimalchio's Dinner Party Essay

1055 words - 5 pages

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 ...view middle of the document...

Trimalchio being a former slave didn’t know who his ancestors were. Although he did have an idea of what this area was supposed to look like, the art and display he set up was put together carelessly and didn’t have any significant meaning to it. (164) The fact that Trimalchio didn’t know his ancestors wasn’t his fault but he could of thought of something more suitable and enjoyable for his guests to look at while waiting to enter the dining room, instead of having something to admire they were scared and displeased with what they saw.
 The host is supposed to be the first one to enter the dining room at a traditional Roman dinner party. However, Trimalchio was the last one to enter the dining room, leaving his guests waiting so long that the slaves had time to give them pedicures. Trimalchio was eventually carried into the dining room to music, making himself the center of attention. He was then placed at the “high” couch, honoring himself as a host above all of his guests. (22) Trimalchio’s dinner was set up more ”like a snobbish restaurant, his household assigns seating on the basis of money.” (166) If Trimalchio was following the ways of a well-born Roman he would of given the “high” couch to Agamemnon who was his guest of honor that night. Moreover, Trimalchio didn’t even deserve to be sitting on the “high” couch in the first place because he is a “freedman”.
Symbols were really important to the Romans and Trimalchio was wearing symbols that he was not allowed to wear according to ancient law and custom. One of the things he was wearing is a napkin with a purple stripe on it that was meant to be worn by Roman high officials. He was also wearing gold rings that weren’t supposed to be worn by anyone lower than Roman knights. (23) Once again Trimalchio is in the wrong as he was with the display of bundles and rods over his door post. He...

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