Petronius Study Guide

General Themes:

What are the moral codes or suitable kinds of behaviors in Petronius' world?

How does this work mock the genre of epic by making fun of the traditional epic themes and the style of epic?

What role do literature and education play in Petronius' world?

In-Depth Analysis

What kinds of sexual behavior does ancient Roman society presume is "normal" or "good"?  Does Petronius connect deviant sexuality with hypocrisy?

What aspects of Petronius' Satyricon most closely resemble comedy?

How do you assesss whether the characters in the Satyricon who put forward particular views are depicted as authoritative, or flawed, or both?

Why is food so important as a theme in the dinner of Tirmalchio? What do the characters say about the food and do you think that there is a connection between the comments about food and other major societal concerns?

Do you think that Petronius is trying to satirize the myth of the "self-made man" with his portrayal of Trimalchio?