The Comedy of Errors Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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Discuss the two female characters in each of the plays The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare and The Rivals by Richard Brinsley Sheridan. Specifically touch on how they are both idealistic and realistic.

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In the Epilogue of Sheridan's The Rivals, Mrs. Bulkley declares,

  Man's social happiness all rests on us:
  Through all the drama—whether damn'd or not—
  Love gilds the scene, and women guide the plot.
  From every rank obedience is our due—
  D'ye doubt?

The leading ladies of all three plays do, indeed, "guide the plot[s]" of the three plays under discussion. Here are some of their idealistic and realistic traits:

  • The Rivals

Lydia Languish

For the most part, Lydia remains ridiculously idealistic throughout the play, from her initial sending of her servant Lucy out for romantic novels such as The Fatal Connexion  so that she can model her life upon them, She refuses to marry within her social realm, preferring the penniless Ensign Beverly. In her illusory state, she even goes so far as to create conflicts so that they can be romantically resolved as in her novels. She tells Julia that she was afraid that she and Beverly would never have a lovers' quarrel, so she has...

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