The Comedy of Errors: Novel Summary: Act 2 Scene 1
Act 2 Scene 1
Adriana, Antipholus S.'s wife, is worried that her husband and servant are not back. Luciana, her sister, explains that men are masters of their liberty and can go where they like. She says that a dutiful wife must exercise patience. This annoys Adriana, who does not see why women should have less freedom than men. She says Luciana only talks of patience because she has no experience of marriage.
Dromio E. enters and reports to Adriana what has passed between him and the man he believed to be his master, including the beating he received. He says he has gone mad and talks only of his gold. Adriana angrily sends him again to fetch her husband, threatening Dromio with another beating should he fail once more to bring him home. Dromio reluctantly leaves to look for his master.
Adriana bitterly reflects that if her husband has lost interest in her, it is his doing: he has "wasted" her beauty and attractiveness. She thinks that he is playing around with another woman and that this explains why he has not come home. She says she wants to die. Luciana believes that she is foolishly jealous.
The confusion caused by the mistaken identities deepens. Adriana, in her anger and jealousy, has already constructed an imaginary reality in which her husband has deserted her for another woman. Like Egeon, she sees no point in living if she has lost her loved one. This highlights the extent to which people lose their own identity in that of the beloved.
The scene also illustrates Adriana's character and contrasts it with that of her sister Luciana. Adriana is angry, independent-minded and impatient, but loves her husband with an intensity that quickly transforms into jealousy. Luciana puts the more conventional point of view, that a wife should be dutiful, patient and uncomplaining. That Adriana should put her sister's calm attitude down to inexperience shows her cynical view of men, women and relationships.