According to you, who is the most representative female character in English comedy?According to you, who is the most representative female character in English comedy?

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zward03 | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

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My first thought when reading the question was Elizabeth Bennett, but that's been mentioned a few times.

Viola in Twelfth Night comes to mind. Dressing up like a boy to escape her dreadful situation leads to a lot of comedy with the falling in love and mistaken identity that ensues.

I also think of Daisy Buchannan in The Great Gatsby. Not a comedy really, but she's a funny girl to me. She epitomizes that shallow, superficial women who chases the dream and fails. She was a great character to me.

And getting a bit more modern, Auntie Mame. Very eccentric and funny.

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whatever1 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing is "most representative" because, like many of Shakespeare's female characters, she is multi-dimensional in that she presents herself publicly as a "shrew", if you will, lashing out at Benedick and any other man foolhardy enough to cross her path, while at the same time vulnerable to cupid's barbs.  Thus she represents a female archetype that has been replicated in many a comedy---one who can be the equal in wit and force of will to her male counterparts, and yet be a true human being in that she is willing and able to set aside her self-possession and allow herself to be led by her heart.

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Hummm...I am not clear on what you mean by "most representative", but if you mean archetypes, I will give you these characters.  I love Kate from Taming of the Shrew (she's a strong and smart personality who is also funny); there is also the goofy but loving character of the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet.  There are others, I'm sure, but my brain is not firing on all cylinders just now.  Hope this helps!


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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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I do not like to sound redundant or repetitive but I have a fascination with the ladies of PG Wodehouse, Oscar Wilde, and Saki.

Out of the many bored baronesses, catty countesses, divine duchesses, and prim princesses of their stories my favorite has to be Lady Bracknell, of course, with her haughty behavior and her shameless sense of superiority. She is probably the best-known "Wilde Lady", since she is none other than Algernon Moncrieff's aristocratic aunt: The very cause why Algernon invented his Bunbury.

I have a fascination with posh, stuck-up, and elegant older ladies. I hope I can end up like one of Oscar Wilde's ladies when I am in my golden years.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Female comic figures? Well, along the same vein, I find that Lady Catherine de Bourgh springs to mind. She is so laughable as an example of upper class British snobbery and her own arrogance and sense of innate superiority. In particular, her interactions with the bumbling and pathetic Mr. Collins are a comic masterpiece, as is the way that Lizzie gives her short shrift when she visits Longbourne.

If you want a non-Austen example, you might like to think of somebody like Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing. She certainly is able to create lots of laughter through her "merry war" with Benedick.

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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I'm hard pressed to think of any really comedic pieces of English literature--I mean laugh out loud comedy. But I might suggest that Mary in Austen's Pride and Prejudice is representative of female comedic characters. The reason is that exaggeration and irony play a large role in her characterization. For example, her singing and piano playing are so bad and her persistence is so great that exaggeration of her failings is laughable, along the lines of the classic comediennes Lucille Ball and Carol Burnet. As another example, her grandiose poses of superior knowledge are so ironically not accurate that her words of wisdom are purely laughable, along the lines of the characters created by classic comedienne Lily Tomlin for the famous and wonderful classic Laugh-In TV series.

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Though I'm not sure what, exactly, you mean by "most representative," I vote for Elizabeth Bennett (later Darcy) in Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice. Perhaps others will not see the novel as a comedy, but there are so many delightful elements and characters that it qualifies as one in my book. Elizabeth is strong and educated, outspoken and unwilling to be demeaned simply because she is not rich. To me she represents the best of English women--all women, actually--because she is fiesty enough to be poor but not downtrodden and has class and style enough to be married to a rich man. She is a strong woman in any world, and her dry wit and wry humor are ever a delight.

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drahmad1989 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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Belinda is also a great comic character in English literature as from this Pope become famous .

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angels9286 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Honors

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According to you, who is the most representative female character in English comedy?

According to you, who is the most representative female character in English comedy?

Barbara & Margot - The Good Life.

I couldn't separate these two. They were wonderful characters, Margot, the controlling snob and Barbara, the anti-female with fantastic wit. Females often seem to be background characters and when they do lead, they aren't always well written. These two are incredibly well written and acted and never appear inferior, Margot just wouldn't let that happen! They are funny too, which is important.

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