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Why has Washington Irving made out Dame Van Winkle to be a shrew in his story Rip Van Winkle?

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Dame Van Winkle's character is a foil, or an opposite/contrasting type of character, to her husband Rip. This provides tension within the plot as Rip's characterization is developed. The reader must decide if Rip is a lazy man and deserves the treatment he is receiving or if his wife is irrational and too demanding. The answer is probably that both are correct. The characteristics of Rip's marriage might also be representative of the stress placed on families in the newly colonized American continent...

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