Casina and the comedy of errors

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This paper identifies an unrecognized third Plautine source for The Comedy of Errors. Plautus's Casina provides the dramatic framework for Errors 2.1, a prototype for the character of Luciana, and a variation on the uxor dotata that explains some of the differences between Adriana and the Menaechmi wife. Casina is also the proximate source for the romantic triangle of husband, wife, and female dependent, Adriana's sense of sexual rejection over a missed meal, her "venom clamors", the complaint that her husband is "deformed, crooked, old, and sere" at the age of thirty-three, elements of her debate with Luciana, and the punitive nature of the Pinch scene. Recognizing Casina behind Errors shows that a number of Shakespeare's supposed departures from his Roman models actually have a Roman source and provides new evidence of how the playwright handled culturally specific material attached to dramatic elements he adapted, including references to food and dining, marital grievances, and the dowered wife stock type. *

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)497-522
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal of the Classical Tradition
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Classics
  • Cultural Studies
  • General Arts and Humanities


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