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The comedy of errors

By gsycamore Jan 30, 2014 1069 Words
Adriana is an unfortunate victim of misunderstanding. How far do you agree? Adriana is clearly an unfortunate victim of misunderstanding; it is clear because of her unfair treatment throughout the play. There are many moments of misunderstanding between the characters which create comedy, specifically those of farcical comedy. The definition of a farce is something that is intended to be seen as ridiculous, particularly a comedy based on an unlikely situation. Even though these moments are created for the seemingly joyous genre of comedy, they mostly create problems and drama in the characters lives, making them unfortunate victims of misunderstanding. Adriana becomes a victim of this especially as she is confused about her husband’s affections and it starts to cause her psychological turmoil. For Shakespeare to use a woman as a secondary character also for her to have such a predominant and effective voice in the play to a platform unusually prevalent for a women at the time. In The Comedy of Errors we are introduced to Adriana and Luciana, these are the only female characters in the play. The women have little influence to what actually happens in the play; however they demonstrate more sensitivity and complexity than all of the males in the play. For example, the Antipholuses spend most of the play punching people. We first meet Adriana and Luciana when Adriana is angry that her husband is late. She thinks he’s out with another woman, and all the evidence seems to agree with her. Her unmarried sister Luciana tries to console her by talking about patience and obedience in marriage, which during this time marriage was very traditional a woman would be expected to wait hand and foot on her husband and just accept anything he did. However, Adriana just brushes his off in a very sassy and modern woman way. ‘Why should their liberty be more than ours?’ she believes that women should have more freedom and is tired of playing the role of the stereotypical women and perfect wife. Adriana represents a lot of feminist ideas that are ahead of her time; she is a very futuristic character in the play and doesn’t fit in with women of this time. Shakespeare could have created this character to show his beliefs of women in contrast to when this play was written and also to show the contrast between the two sisters. She is blunt and forceful, two words that are not often used to describe a female character in Shakespeare’s plays. Her statements are refreshingly grounded for this period of time; Adriana’s character today would be easily portrayed as the crazy jealous wife. During the last act of the play when her husband, Antipholus of Ephesus, is in prison Adriana becomes almost like a stereotypical wife and commits to the role of a wife during this scene. Throughout the act Adriana fought for her husband to be released, she is given no line expressing forgiveness or lack of forgiveness or no closing comment of the events which is the very opposite to how she is acted throughout the rest of the play as she has been very opinionative about other events that have happened. ‘I sent you money, sir, to be your bail, By Dromio; but I think he brought it not’ these are the last words that Adriana says to Antipholus of Ephesus. It is not unusual in a Shakespeare ending for the women to fade away wordlessly, despite the number of questions they want answered and the feelings they have. Perhaps in this case the lack of words in this case is a reference to the future and feminism. The audience do not see Adriana explode with anger at her husband, nor do we see him easily forgiven, although this is unusually quiet for Adriana it does allow her to finish the play with her head held high and still with her dignity intact. Being one of the only women in the play and not being a stereotypical woman makes her an unfortunate victim of misunderstanding, Shakespeare made her character so different to any other women in this time period or other play that people struggled to understand her and criticised her because of being so different. Even though now her character is one that women can relate to, when this was written she would have been majorly misunderstood.

‘I will attend my husband, be his nurse, Diet his sickness, for it is my office, And will have no attorney but myself;And therefore let me have him home with me.’ Adriana is determined to be a good wife, regardless of whether her husband is unfaithful or insane. She may have been shamed into this position of having to prove herself as a good and obedient woman because that how the community and time period believe women should act. Although unsure of her reasons to start being a good wife, it is still clear that she loves her husband. Adriana spends the whole time worrying that her husband loves another woman. This could make her character come across as jealous and fierce but it also shows her vulnerability as she begins to panic that her husband no longer finds her attractive which for women in a marriage that believe they have unfaithful husbands is one of their biggest fears. Adriana’s deep love for her husband could be mistaken for jealously, however if her husband spent more time with his wife and was more loyal or if Adriana understood the confusion between the brothers the audience may see another side to her which is more loving. The moments of confusion between the brothers and Adriana are examples of the farcical comedy in the play. This makes Adriana a victim of misunderstanding as if she understood the confusion going on then she wouldn’t be paranoid about her husband being unfaithful and she wouldn’t come across as a jealous and irrational woman. Adriana is an unfortunate victim of misunderstanding as she seems modern and futuristic compared to the other women in this time, if this play was set in a later time people would understand her more. Also if she understood the confusion going on we could be able to see her as a different woman as she wouldn’t be going through all the emotions because she strongly believes her husband is being unfaithful to her.

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