Comedy of Errors

The Identity of Adriana in The Comedy of Errors College

The Comedy of Errors, written by William Shakespeare and first performed by 1594, largely deals with the concept of identity, from the farcical mistaken identities of twins Antipholus and Dromio, to the roles of the women around them. In an exploration of accepted gender norms, readers can easily note that the key women in the play-Adriana, Luciana, and Emilia, draw or have been conditioned to draw their sense of self from the men that surround them. However, in a key exception, Adriana, Antipholus’s wife, spends much of the play in a continued anguish, questioning and defying her role as wife, as she fears that her absent husband has begun to seek the company of other women. As a result of her outspokenness, it can be said that unlike the other women mentioned in the play, who strictly adhere to traditional gender roles, Adriana seeks to challenge her place in marriage through continuous and deliberate questioning of the power disparities and the place of adultery in marriage, but ultimately reverts to her assigned societal role as a traditionally submissive wife.

Early on in the play, we observe Adriana’s confused behavior toward her husband and her radical ideas of relationships, claiming that both man and woman should have...

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