Emotion, perception and anagnorisis in the comedy of errors: a cognitive perspective (1).
The first section of the following discussion provides an introduction to relevant concepts and models of analysis derived from appraisal theory and cognitive poetics. Section two draws attention to Aristotle's idea of Anagnorisis, inviting a look at patterns of recognition and reversal from an appraisal-based approach. Section three provides a brief view of the play in relation to its main sources to highlight appraisal models implicit in some of that material as well. The remaining sections focus on The Comedy of Errors in relation to themes and motifs of particular importance in the play, such as the uncanny, the idea of home, personal identity, jealousy, adultery, and inwardness. Specific analyses focus on primary and secondary as well as problem-based and emotion-based appraisals. The final section is focused on the dramaturgical import of core relational themes for emotion, as these have been conceptualized in theories of appraisal.
At the outset of the discussion, a brief instance from the play will fore-ground the significance of an appraisal approach to Comedy of Errors. In Act 1, Scene 2, Antipholus of Syracuse sends Dromio to the Centaur to safeguard his money. In a surprisingly short while, as long as it takes to speak ten lines on stage, he returns. We know that the person who has returned is Dromio of Ephesus, but Antipholus does not know that. It is intriguing indeed that Antipholus does not realize, given the shortness of time, this could not be his Dromio. As readers/viewers, we are invited to suspend our disbelief and allow ourselves to be drawn into the ensuing question and answer sequence, which is about money. Dromio of Ephesus knows nothing about a large sum that is supposed to have been entrusted to him, yet he has his own money complaints. He mentions the "sixpence that he had o'Wednesday last,/To pay the saddler for [his] mistress's crupper" (1.2. 55-56). Confusion caused by the double reference is suggestive of the inability of the one to get through to the other's mind and sense.
What is more important for our analysis, however, is the emotion outcome: Dromio's unhappiness combined with resentment about not being given money. Moreover, the emotion arises from an appraisal that he is being unfairly treated, and his character is predicated on this emotion theme. Later on in the play, when the other Dromio briefly usurps his name and identity, Dromio of Ephesus is at first distressed. Later he consoles himself with the thought that his name never made it easy for him to get any credit in town (meaning both loan-money, and praise), but it got him much blame (for not doing things right). Thus we see that Dromio's model for self analysis, based in appraisal and emotion, shapes his actions, reactions, and discourse.
Cognitive Emotion, Cognitive Poetics
In brief, proponents of the appraisal theory of emotion believe that emotions are not caused by events themselves, but by appraisal of events in relation to goals and plans. Further, emotions are essentially adaptive. Appraisals can be automatic or self-aware, or models of appraisal can be unique to the individual, influenced by others, or suggested by cultural norms (see overview in Power and Dalgleish 1997, 79-99; Frijda 1986, 194-95; Oatley 2004, 3-5, 53-54). In whichever way appraisals happen, it is clear that emplotment, recurrence of motifs, figurative and conceptual metaphors project a) characters' plans and goals; b) their evaluation of events in relation to these plans and goals; c) configurations of emotions caused by these evaluations; d) actional outcomes; e) emotion masking (where one emotion conceals another), and so forth. (2)
It is important to point out that emotions are not only caused by cognitive appraisal processes, as standard theories in cognitive science maintain. Some emotion theorists suggest that emotions function as interpretative, symbolic and intentional schemas (Ekman 1994, 32-33). Richard A. Shwader disagrees with the radical evolutionary accounts of emotion, and advocates a view that takes into account social learning. He sums up the radical evolutionary view as one that considers emotions as natural objects like "plants and animals, inspecting them, and interconnecting their perceptible properties" (34). His view is that, "unlike tigers and elm trees, which exist in the world as perceptible" and can be directly inspected, emotions are transcendent narratives, or scripts (34-35) and "interpretative schemas." To take one case, anger is an interpretative schema which leads to blame; blaming has social and ethical consequences. For instance, in The Comedy of Errors, when Luciana wonders why her sister is acting out of character, why she does "bear" the Abbesses' "rebukes," and "answers not," Adriana says: "She did betray me to my own reproof" (5.1. 90). In saying this, Luciana's customarily bold and assertive sister acknowledges that the Abbess's rebuke is blame used as an interpretive schema. "Blame or credit" and associated emotions relate to secondary appraisal processes as well as emotion-based appraisals, not as much to problem-based appraisals (Power 1997, 88-89). In this case, while the Abbess is doing an emotion-based appraisal, Adriana's out of character subservience signals her engagement, at this moment, with a more problem-based appraisal.
In light of recent research in early modern passions, and the overlap with modern emotion theories, asserting continuity between Shakespeare's work and current research in emotions is not much of a stretch. The insights on emotion, more accurately, passions, explored by early modern thinkers such as the moral philosopher, Thomas Wright, though archaic and of the folk psychological kind, are startlingly consistent with the ideas of cognitive psychologists such as Richard S. Lazarus, Philip Nicholas Johnson-Laird, Keith Oatley, Paul Ekman, Nico H. Frijda, and others. To comment on the psychology of emotions and their relation to thought, Wright uses a brief narrative scenario of a wolf considering a sheep as his prey, seeing in a shepherd and his dogs an obstacle to his goal. Gail Kern Paster draws attention to this narration and its suggestion of appraisal theory. Wright's "immersion in the wolf's point of view," Paster thinks, "produces a set of clearly cognitive, even metacognitive activities activitated by and activating the changes in the wolf's emotions," as he "appraises and reappraises" (2004, 126). It is clear that Wright's wolf is an anthropomorphic entity, not a directly observable object of scientific investigation like "the tiger and the elm" mentioned by Richard Shweder. Wright, as Paster reminds us, sees the drama between the sheep, the shepherd's dogs, and the wolf, as a "mock-heroic agon" (Paster 2004, 126; Wright 1630, 22-23).
This emotion script narrated by Thomas Wright is worth being recapped in detail. In trying to establish a continuity between the emotional life of animals, humans and the deity, in his treatise on the Passions of the Mind, Wright reminds his readers: "we know God himselfe to bee affected with anger," though nothing can be "difficult" or "hard" for him (1630, 21). The wolf's case is more understandable, since this animal encounters obstacles to goal fulfillment. Using this story as a way of defining emotions, Wright says, the wolf "loueth the flesh of the Sheep," then he "desireth to haue it, thirdly he rejoiceth in his prey when he hath gotten it." On the contrary, the sheep hates the wolf, considering him "an evil thing in himselfe," and then detests him. The distinction between the sheep's hate and his detestation follows the wolf's being considered an evil thing in itself. This causal explanation supports what Nico Frijda has said about anger. According to him the appraisal condition for anger is one's encounter with "a challenge to what ought to happen" (1986, 199). Frijda reminds us that when we stumble against a table, we become angry at the table as if it were animate and "ought not to have been there." Detesting some one is not the same as actional anger, but it is close. The sheep's hate turns into something close to anger at the perception that this "evil thing in itself" ought not be haunting his domicile. To follow Wright's scenario a little further, we are told that the sheep's pain and grief will follow, in other words the emotion will change, if the wolf should "Seaze upon her" (1630, 23). In that case, the sheep will lose a sense of her claim to safety in the woods and no longer feel angry.
More specifically, the parallel with appraisal theory becomes compelling with the entrance of the shepherd and his dogs. At this juncture, the wolf fears the difficulty of his "purchasing his prey." Pondering on this prospect, thinking that he could overcome the shepherd and have the dogs as well makes the wolf hopefully ambitious. At the same time, he considers the outcome "doubtful," but not impossible. With this action-based disposition, "he erecteth himself with the passion of Hope" (Wright 1630, 23). A reversal of his fortunes occurs when the shepherd rises to the defense of his dogs, and the wolf senses he is weaker. At that moment, he "falls into the passion" of fear. Defined by his appraisal of the situation, when he thinks he can not only get the sheep but also the dogs, the wolf's first fear transforms into hope, while the second fear follows a realization of his disadvantage. Faced by bruises and wounds, the wolf concludes that his "enterprise" has been "unprofitable" and runs away thinking his "heels are surer defense, than his teeth" (24).
It is surprising that emotion theorists such as Nico Frijda, who continually refer to Aristotle and others, generally do not refer to Thomas Wright. His list of passions, inherited from Thomas Aquinas, has eleven passions that parallel Magda B. Arnold's list of eleven emotions (Power 1997, 103). Further, some of Wright's explanations are similar to those of other modern theorists who, from time to time, present their lists of what they consider primary and secondary emotions, hardwired and/or culturally evolved emotions. Some of these, including lists by Paul Ekman, Wallace V. Friesen and Phoebe Ellsworth, Nico Frijda, and Keith Oatley, use similar explanations and principles of distinction as Wright (Power 1997, 103).
Wright not only provides a concrete scenario in order to implicate the two traditional classes of passion, concupiscibilis and irascibilis, into an appraisal-based model, he also reflects on the relation of facial expressions to passions. "We must confesse," he says "that passions have certain effects in our faces," admitting that individuals have varying abilities to show or hide them: "howbeit some doe shew them more evidently than others" (1630, 30). This early modern observation may contradict the modern idea that facial expressions trigger associated emotion states, yet the point of contact is a preoccupation with some of the same questions. In addition, it is evident that early modern playwrights shared the knowledge about passions with naturalists, medicine men, moral philosophers and others of their time. In Shakespeare's Macbeth, for instance, Duncan ruefully states that there is no art "to find the mind's construction in the face" (1.4. 12-13). Lady Macbeth instructs her husband "to look like the innocent flower/But be the serpent underneath it," fearing that his face "is as a book,/Where men may read strange matters" (1. 5. 61-66). In using the figure of the book, Lady Macbeth refers to cognition more precisely as does Duncan in his reference to the construction of the mind. Wright, on the other hand concludes that the face, though it shows the effects of our passions, should not be considered as "the root & the core where passions reside," but "onely the rind and the leaues" (1630, 30). (3)
A crucial question here is: in what ways might we re-think characters so as to take their words to refer to something that might be understood as "psychologically real?" In some kinds of traditional psychoanalytic criticism, for instance, this problem has been solved either by talking about characters as if they are so real that they have an elaborate unconscious mind based on repression, or through a return to author biographies. Cognitive poetics, based in linguistics, provides terminology and conceptual models which can be used effectively to speak of the as if realities which are not real. In cognitive poetics, the linguistic idea of deixis--reference to the situational coordinates of person, as in pronouns such as "you" and "I"; of location, as in words such as "here," "there"; of time, as in "now," "then"--is extended to frames and fields found in film, theater, narrative literature and poetry. These may be person-based (characters), relational (having to do with interactions between characters), spatial (signifying location), epistemic (having to do with judgments of truth) and temporal (related to time) (Stockwell 2002, 45-46). Perhaps the most important implication of person-based deixis is that it denotes an imagined subjectivity to which we can attribute intention, just as Thomas Wright attributes intention to the wolf. He uses the wolf as a deictic situational coordinate of subjectivity, animal or human. Similarly, in The Comedy of Errors, we notice--from one set of entries and exits to the next--the deictic categories of personal identity, time, context and location shift back and forth, attaching unintended meanings to words and actions that give rise to appraisals and emotions.
In course of the following discussion, therefore, a reference to deictic categories and situational coordinates is either implied or used explicitly when we focus on the characters in relation to their goals and plans; see plot as a projection of these goals; understand tensions in dramatic action in terms of primary appraisals of goal relevance, goal congruence/incongruence, and egoinvestment; take note of narrative change and transformation as indicative of secondary appraisal--for instance attribution of blame and credit (when certain goals do or do not flourish); identify core relational themes, or appraisal schemas, and so forth. In the general terms of theory and criticism, we can see that the emphasis on deixis and situational coordinates in Cognitive Poetics has significance for a hermeneutic understanding of narrative illusion and "truth." From lyric personae to dramatic characters, deictic fields and domains help conjure an entity to which we can attribute goals, intentions, purposes, motivations as well as social and personal identities. This is not surprising because in classical theory, the shift from Platonic to Aristotelian aesthetic theory is in part a move from disowning of illusion to an acceptance of illusion. Similarly, current departures from certain forms of deconstructive postmodernism to cognitive theory mark a shift from romantic disowning of illusion by way of a denial of all epistemic and ontological possibilities--to a conditioned, limited, cautioned ownership of artistic, theatrical, narrative and poetic illusion.
What You See is Not What You Get: Appraisal, Inwardness, and Apparent Anagnorisis
Speaking of dramatic form and the structures of representational illusion, Aristotle identifies anagnorisis as "a change from ignorance to knowledge," a change that defines turning points in drama where there is a "Reversal of a situation and Recognition." Both parts of drama, he reminds us, "turn upon surprises" (Butcher 1951, 41; 43). The appropriateness of the term for discussions of comic misrecognition in The Comedy of Errors, though Aristotle's discussion focuses on tragedy, is especially relevant because the errors in this play are caused by agnoia, ignorance caused by failure to distinguish between appearance and reality. In identifying reversal and recognition as markers of change, Aristotle's purpose is to account for plot transformations and their effects on catharsis. In The Comedy of Errors, moments of apparent anagnorisis turn upon themselves, invert (subvert), even seem to parody the idea of change in terms of events and self transformation. Plot transformations in this play rely on errors of sense perception (primarily of sight), leading to misrecognitions that eventually dissolve into recognition in the frame story.
Interestingly, that frame story is situated within a context of weighty social and political concerns of just the sort prized by Aristotle. Egeon's search for separated family members, his debt and arrest are caused by "enmity and discord" "sprung from the rancorous outrage" of the Duke of Syracuse (Comedy of Errors 1.1.4-5). The comedy of mistaken twins, thus unfolds in a context of political violence, setting up a conflict between private and civic lives of individuals. From a new historicist perspective, the "enmity and discord" between "Syracuse and Ephesus" can legitimately be seen "to correspond in their detail to the state of war that existed between England and Spain at the date of The Comedy of Errors" (Miller 2002, 199). The conflation of Spain and Ephesus, as Anthony Miller shows, would have had a resonance for the play's contemporary viewers (200-05). Such conflicts, however, are not unique to a time period, but universal. More importantly for our purposes, the characters' contradictory perceptions of Ephesus as a city inhabited by "Lapland sorcerers" as opposed to "such a gentle nation," for they "speak us fair, give us gold," are caused by their appraisals of the environment in relation to goal relevance, goal congruence/incongruence and the degree of ego-involvement. In the Aristotelian sense, the play is less focused on self transformation, though critics never tire of arguing for this, and more on the dynamics of cognition and emotion in relation to appraisal. Moreover, that appraisal is, once again, foregrounded by apparent instances of anagnorisis that are revealed as instances of agnoia only when the main story and the frame story join and resolve at the end of the play.
More exactly, as errors of identity in The Comedy of Errors proliferate in the inner plot, and the outer story is put on hold, the most salient instance of recognition--of family members--is deferred. The merchant in Act 1, Scene 2 warns of the "statutes of the town," advises Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse to "give out" that they "are of Epidamnum." He reports the news about the Syracusan merchant, without mentioning his name, who, "unable to buy out his life," "dies ere the weary sun set in the West" (1.2. 1-7). Within this framework, as the turmoil of private lives gets out of hand, distempered minds--or cognitions--separate the inwardness of individuals from how their bodies, and persons, are seen outwardly. This split puts self-transformation out of the range of this play.
A thematically suggestive instance of splitting of the inward from the outward takes place in the scene where the unlikely pair Adriana and the Courtesan meet to declare Antipholus of Ephesus to be mad. The Courtesan testifies: "Beside his present instance of rage,/Is a mad tale he told today at dinner/Of his own doors being shut against his entrance" (Comedy of Errors 4.3. 83-85). While Adriana and the Courtesan have a relationship of goal incongruence, in their appraisal of Antipholus's conduct on this day an unlikely consensus emerges from secondary appraisal in the form of collective blame.
However, Adriana's proprietary investment in her husband quickly reasserts itself, and her commitment to his well being is evident throughout. When they take their domestic quarrel to the Duke, accusing each other, she is willing to hand him over to the authorities, or alternatively to Dr. Pinch, so that he may "establish him in his true sense again" (Comedy of Errors 4.4.45-46). Her search for a remedy is again an instance of secondary appraisal; she defers hope to the future expectation that her husband's mind and sense will be restored. Later, accompanied by her sister and the courtesan, Adriana stops a street fight that might cause him injury and asks for the two men to be bound and taken to her home (5.1.34-35). The objects of Adriana's sight (and her care), at this moment, are the other Dromio and Antipholus; they run away.
In his Treatise of Passions And Faculties of the Soule of Man, Edward Reynolds considers sight as the sense that "governs passions" (1640, 240). In The Comedy of Errors, unintended blunders of sight give rise to misattribution of passions, and the misattributions cause an inward sense of fear (of loss of identity) and an outward construal of a pathology that justifies social governance of individual passions. In the scene with the Abbess, when Adriana is asked to leave her husband to be cured by "wholesome syrups, drugs and holy prayers/To make him a formal man again" (5.1.104-105), she objects to the authority of the Abbess to separate a wife and husband in this way (5.1.111). In other words, this solution is not perceived as goal congruent by Adriana. She decides to complain to the Duke of this indignity and "take [her] husband perforce from the Abbess" (5.1. 116). Yet, she concurs with the diagnosis of madness, hence with the appraisal of a pathological condition and need for therapy, splitting his inwardness from the things he has become implicated in throughout the day.
As errors of perception multiply, splitting and realigning of cognition (and emotion outcomes) guide scene structure and dialogue, as well as the turning points in action. For instance, in Act 4, Scene 2, Antipholus of Ephesus tells Dromio of Syracuse, thinking him to be Dromio of Ephesus, to go to "Adriana" and get money to bail him out from the jail. Dromio can run this errand, though it is not his paid job, because Adriana's house is known to him. Reassuringly, he says: "To Adriana,--that is where we din'd," (Comedy of Errors 4.1. 105-110). Recognition of a name, a house, helps him piece together two events of the day. Contrarily, Dromio of Ephesus speaks to his own master of the blows he received from the double: "If the skin were parchment and the blows you gave were ink/Your own hand-writing would tell what I think" (3.1.14-16). The blows, however, are not ink. Dromio's accusation is misdirected, though his emotions of hurt and resentment have authenticity. His use of the figure of writing and signing legal documents, or keeping historical records, on the other hand, indicates a continual anxiety about epistemic and ontological veracity and its ruptures. Appraisal must assume that it is based on anagnorisis, but there is always the worry--here portrayed comically--that it is nothing more than agnoia.
The Unheimlich Maneuver: Seeing Double and the Agnoia of Jealousy
But that is not all there is to the connection with Aristotelian tragedy and that is not where the significance of the frame story ends. Further connections come, of all places, from Shakespeare's Plautine sources. Here, they connect to the weighty relational theme of marital jealousy--a prime case of intense emotion that often has little to do with facts and everything to do with appraisals.
In Shakespeare, Plautus and the Humanist Tradition, Wolfgang Riehle points out "the nodus erroris" in this play "is exceedingly tightly knit," and the play's action, "develops with an almost 'uncanny' logic, and thus it approaches the structure of tragedy" (1990, 104). Riehel's comment about tragic structure does not refer specifically to the frame plot, but to the play's internal logic of error. An evaluative comment of this sort contradicts those who consider the play a farce, most notable among whom is Coleridge, who labels Errors "as a poetical farce," complimenting it for being "intentionally so" (see Levin 1965, 161). In his 1808 lecture on the play, Schlegel says he cannot "acquiesce in the censure [of the play] that the discovery is too long deferred" because the "perplexities occasioned by external senses" retain their "novelty and interest for the viewer" (159-61). The Egeon story, Schlegel thinks, gives seriousness of purpose to the discovery at the end (159). Associative links to the Biblical account of St. Paul's visit to Ephesus, and his epistle to the Ephesians, further reinforce the seriousness of the frame story. Shakespeare's debt to Roman Comedy, as attested by Schlegel and others, is not contradicted by the imputations of the seriousness of purpose in Comedy of Errors. Plautus's plays, especially Amphitriyon and The Menaechmus Twins, bear significantly on the role of embodied cognition in the play in light of the instances of appraisal that cause changes in emotion and dramatic action.
One of the consequences of Shakespeare's integration of the two Plautine sources, Menaechemi and Amphitruo in The Comedy of Errors, is the conflation of the schema of marriage-adultery-infidelity with that of mistaken identity--where extreme forms of jealousy are avoided. In Amphitruo, the "discovery" that it was Jupiter who impersonated Amphitriyon and impregnated his wife gives rise to a reappraisal of the disordered domestic situation by providing a fresh appraisal of adultery (Plautus 1997, 116-21). The mystery of birth, and divine revelation associated with it, transforms Amphitriyon's distress into joy, bewilderment into clarity of thought (5.1080-143). Alcmena's twin boys, the Geminos (5.1089), were conceived at different times but are born at the same time (5.1121-125). One of them is the snake killing infant, son of a god, the other Amphitryon's own son (5.1110-1130). An offstage speech (of Jupiter), prefaced by a reassuring "Bono animo es, adsum auxilio, Amphitruo, tibi et tuis:/ nihil est quod timeas" (5.1131-132), "I am here with aid, Amphtriyon, for thee and thine," and you have "naught to fear," cancels out appraisals that would lead to home destroying jealousy and anger (Plautus 1997, 120-121). The husband is not only reconciled to his wife, he proudly invites a loud applause from the audience: "nune, spectatores, Iovis summi causa clare plaudite" (5.1146).
Needless to say, Shakespeare does not use impersonation, divine intervention, not even adultery, yet he too realigns elements to restore perspective on spousal jealousy. In keeping with the spirit of a comic universe, the wife and husband in his play take turns at being jealous. Further, the discourse of jealousy takes place in strange conversational situations and thus gives rise to oblique anagnorises in the form of jokes. For instance, at one point the wife expresses her jealousy in strong words, but to the wrong husband. Conversely, the husband accuses his wife of being a harlot and dining with harlots. "She with harlots feasted in my house," he declares, but at a time when no one is inclined to believe anything he says (Comedy of Errors 5.1.205). Jealousy, in this play, as in its sources, is accorded its due status as something that inhabits marriages and homes, but it is denied the undue status of a great passion. In "No Space like Home," Mary Crane says that the play centers on the characters' varying sense that some sort of a containing home is necessary in order to possess a "rounded" interior life and their simultaneous sense that "a private home and individual self can be stifling and confining" (2001, 37). The "varying sense" by itself does not decode the dramaturgy of error in cognitive terms. On the other hand, a focus on varying appraisals (and emotions) is cognitively significant. From this perspective, the varying sense is either primary or secondary appraisal; it can be problem-based or an emotion-based appraisal. In the instances quoted above, Adriana's husband's accusation is an emotion-based appraisal made at a time when everyone thinks he is mad. Adriana's wifely lecture given to the husband substitute is an example of a problem-based appraisal, though it does not, for obvious reasons, solve the problem.
Interpretations that focus on themes of identity confusion often discuss comic horror in the play. In this vein, G.R. Elliott detects the effects of "comic horror" in the identical twins motif, stating that "Real horror attaches to the notion of the complete identity of two people" (in Miola 2001, 57). Similarly, Harry Levin detects a sense of alienation of the self from the self, drawing parallels with Brecht, Dostoevsky, Baudelaire, Hoffman and Poe. In his view, The Comedy of Errors comes close to such aberrations where the double can either be "a best friend or the worst enemy," "daemon or devil," but in this play the aberrations are "sorted out by the happy ending" when Egeon is "ransomed and reprieved" (Qtd. in Miola 2001, 133).
In a related vein, Barbara Freedmen considers the doubling motif in connection to the "Freudian-Lacanian" uncanny (1991, 78-113). In an essentially deconstructive reading, Freedman refers to the Freudian concept somewhat facetiously, perhaps only for purposes of framing her discourse. And, yet, from a cognitive perspective the implications of the Freudian uncanny gain great relevance for a reading of the play.
Freud formulates the idea of the uncanny in his analysis of, "The Sandman," by Hoffmann. Specifically, he defines the uncanny as that "class of the terrifying which leads back to something long known to us, once very familiar" (1919, 123-24). Further, he discusses in detail ways in which the content of a wish, a desire, or fear, or any thought that has become alienated from the conscious mind through repression, may come back to haunt. The supernatural, or other uncanny incidents in stories, in his view, sometimes replicate the return of the repressed. Freud's original term for the uncanny is unheimlich, as opposed to heimlich (or heimlig). (4) Acutely aware of the ambiguities of the first term, Freud concludes: "Thus heimlich is a word the meaning of which develops towards an ambivalence, until it finally coincides with its opposite, unheimlich (131). In his conclusive comment about the diverse ways the word is used, Freud says heimlich stands for all that is "on the one hand familiar and congenial, and on the other hand, that which is concealed and kept out of sight" (129).
In the case of The Comedy of Errors, one might examine how the dramaturgy of error "keeps out of sight" not materials selected for repression, but randomly generated information that keeps distinctive and discrete inwardness of minds "out of sight," while foregrounding identical bodies. At cognitive turning points, inwardness is expressed when emotions are triggered by appraisals of confusing situations and behaviors. Emotions become marks of inwardness as the home and the city streets usurp and pose a threat to its habitation. In this context, further examples of usage from Freud's long list are worth repeating. He contrasts instances of positive usage such as "Quite, lovely and heimlich, no place more fitted for her rest" (1919, 126) with negative usage such as, "To do something Heimlich, i.e, behind someone's back; to steal away heimlich; heimlich meetings and appointments," and further, "heimlich love, love-affair, sin," and thus "the heimlich chamber" (128). These are, in fact, Freud's situational coordinates for this concept. Similar items of detail in The Comedy of Errors can be seen to conform to these descriptions, not necessarily in relation to an imaginable unconscious and processes of repression, but in relation to primary and secondary appraisal, goal congruence /incongruence--in effect, embodied agnoia and anagnorises.
In this context, Adriana's appraisals may be seen, not as peripheral concerns of one, relatively minor character, but as defining the central emotion script in The Comedy of Errors. Commenting on the many early modern adaptations of the "Plautine door knocking and lock-out in Amphitruo," Robert Miola draws attention to Adriana's "expanded role" in Shakespeare's play (Leggatt 1974, 24). This expansion, as suggested above, is predicated on Adriana's jealousy. As we know, Shakespeare and his contemporaries used the motif of male jealousy far more frequently, as if women are immune to this passion. Play after play written in this period depicts masculine heroics inspired by this passion, heroics recruited to "destroy the Hemilichkeit of the home" (Freud 1919, 126). This gives a sense that only men have the prerogative to be jealous. Thus Emilia, in Othello complains; she argues that women have enough ground to be unfaithful and to be jealous. In that famously unheimlich bedchamber, Emilia argues with a fearful and hopeful, betrayed and trustful Desdemona. Setting up hypothetical scenarios, she puts forth her position thus: "Say that they slack in their duties,/And pour our treasures into foreign laps/Or else break into peevish jealousies" (Othello 4.3.87-89).
In The Comedy of Errors, the shift to female jealousy endorses an Emilialike perspective. In the scene referred to above, speaking to Antipholus of Syracuse (thinking him her husband), Adriana complains about his adultery. Though the basic situational irony for this problem-solving "difficult dialogue" cannot be missed, one is inclined to pay attention to what Adriana says; she threatens to break the wedding ring from her finger, complains that she has to "digest the poison of his flesh" and be "strumpetted by" his "contagion" (2.2.137-44). These words certainly indicate some prehistory to Adriana's emotion which lies outside the temporality of the play, but her anger confirms to Nico Frijda's criterial condition: a challenge to what ought to happen. What ought to happen, according to Adriana, is challenged by her husband's emotion disposition and her evaluation of it.
This does not suggest Adriana's jealousy is justifiable. She recognizes the unwholesome excess of her emotion. At one of the most confusing junctures in the play, Luciana informs her sister that he (this person was Antipholus of Syracuse, though they both think in was Antipholus of Ephesus) swore "he was a stranger here," and swore his love to his wife's sister. Luciana says, "that love I begg'd for you, he begg'd of me"; at this, Adriana is at first incredulous, then angry. "He is deformed," she cries out, "crooked, old and sere,/ill-faced, worse bodied, shapeless everywhere," and further, "stigmatical in making, worse in mind" (Comedy of Errors 4.2.9-22). Adriana's emotion is clearly triggered by a secondary appraisal of future expectations. Luciana's searching question that follows gives a clue to the verbal abuse having been an expression of reactive anger, as she counters: "Who would be jealous then of such a one?/No evil lost is wail'd when it is gone." In decisive disagreement, Adriana quickly confesses: "Ah, but I think him better than I say" (4.2.21-25).
As we have come to expect in this play, it is clear Adriana's anger is not caused by her husband's character flaws, but by her appraisal of goal incongruence. The indictment of his character serves as a defense against distress and humiliation. On this note she adds, "My heart prays for him, though my tongue do curse" (Comedy of Errors 4.2.28). In a characteristic gesture, she splits the tongue from the heart: using them as metonymic figures for two contrary emotions: anger and love.
When Adriana goes upstairs to dine with her husband's double, to the heimlich chamber, Shakespeare's source shifts wholly to The Amphitruo. However, the difference from the source is significant, because Adriana controls the scene. In addition, not only is the jealousy theme altered, the adultery theme is also altered, since the scene is structured by Adriana's anger and hurt, not by love.
Yet, there is an outward appearance of adultery. At the end of Act 2, Scene 2, Dromio of Syracuse is instructed by her to "play the porter well" (Comedy of Errors 2.2.211). His comment: "Am I in earth, in heaven, or in hell?" (213) is marked by some of the Sosia-Mercury sauciness in Amphitruo. More importantly, his rhyming of Adriana's "well" with "hell" makes him a familiar, a part of the household and also not a part of it: a stranger. As a person-based deixis, he enters into the emotion script of Adriana's life. In this role, he speaks linked verse with her. As an early exemplar of a porter in Shakespeare, he reminds one of other porters. A closer echo may be found in Othello's abusively referring to Emilia as the porter: "I pray you turn the key and keep the counsel" (Othello 4.2.93). The jealous Moor calls her the keeper of a mock brothel (Othello's house on Cypress), who has "the office opposite to St. Peter" (91). The parallel between Dromio's voice and Othello's voice should not shock us, because Dromio of Syracuse's physical identity may be mixed up with that of his twin, but his voice is distinct and significant.
Adriana's specific instructions to all her servants (whose names the locked out husband calls out) are to dismiss anyone who may ask for the master, by telling them he "dines forth, and let no creature enter" (Comedy of Errors 2.2.209-10). In the next scene, splitting sound from sight, she can hear but not see when she asks Luce: "Who is that at the door that keeps all that noise?" (3.1.61). Physical sight would prematurely alter appraisals of goal incongruence; her sight is hence, blocked. Only Dromio, who refers to himself as one who is "Known unto these, and to [himself] disguised" (2.2.214), can see and hear the stranded men. However, he cannot tell the difference between "unruly boys" by whom the "town is troubled" (62) and the master of the house. Here again, an appraisal is based on perceptual misinformation. Dromio of Ephesus, on his part, retaliates by calling this other Dromio a "patch" who "has been made a porter" (3.1.36). The element of comic horror that Sosia of Amphitruo feels and that some critics, as mentioned above, detect in Shakespeare's play is mostly absent here, as is the element of intimidation. Dromio of Ephesus, no doubt feels the distress of an identity theft, when he cries out: "O villain, thou hast stol'n both mine office and mine name" (3.1.44). However, he quickly admits that the theft has an advantage because the "name" got him "no credit" in town, and the "office" got him "mickle blame" (45). This utterance is referred to above in connection with Dromio of Ephesus's money concerns. Consistent with that emotion theme, he thinks his office and name have been stolen.
The quick shift to re-appraisal that is a comfortingly comic one is a consistent feature of Shakespeare's compositional style. He uses these shifts in appraisal to maintain focus on the dominant emotion theme, while introducing ancillary emotions for reinforcement. In contrast to Dromio's sense of an advantage of a disadvantage, in Amphitruo, Sosia feels seriously alienated when he encounters his intimidating impersonator. He is afraid his name is going to be changed from "Sosia" to "Sosia the Fifth," because this impersonator refers to his having stripped four others (of their identity) and "laid them away in slumber" (Amphitrio 1.300-07). While the bed chamber is visited by a deity in human shape, as far as the outside of the house is concerned the unheimlich takeover of the heimlich is more true of the Plautine comedy where Mercury browbeats the real Sosia in a menacing tone: "I am that Sosia you claimed to be a while ago (Ego sum Sosia ille quem tu dudum esse aiebas mihi)" (388). The questioning becomes so like an inquisition that Sosia is intimidated into complete silence. The scenes between Shakespeare's Dromios are clearly more playful. Since the name, Dromio, comes from Erasmus's Mother Bombie, a considerable privileging of foolery is to be expected. In The Praise of Folly, Folly declares "For I never wear disguises, nor do I say one thing and think another" (Erasmus 1511, 13). In a complimentary gesture, the identical twins in The Comedy of Errors do not wear deliberate disguises either; their physical likeness is their disguise.
Breaking and Entering: On the Emotions (and Metaphors) of Being at Home
But of course there are facts here as well as appraisals. And some of the facts do manage to be known--though always partially and in a way that is inexorably and thoroughly misleading. Dromio knows that Adriana has taken a stranger upstairs to treat him as her husband. However, this is also a sort of error. Recognition is suggested when all four characters are brought together. But it is blocked when the visual field is incomplete. The blocking of sight is needed not only to further the plot, it works out the logic of emotion: of love and anger in marriage. At the same time, an inchoate brother-rivalry theme is played out in Dromio of Ephesus pleading with the "porter of hell." "Here is too much 'out upon thee'; I pray thee let me in." Dromio of Syracuse retorts: "Ay, when fowls have no feathers and fish have no fin" (Comedy of Errors 3.1.78-79). This conversation is intertwined with another, between Antipholus of Ephesus and Dromio of Ephesus, further multiplying confusions. Antipholus wants his servant to go get him something to break open the door. More specifically he says: "I'll break in; go borrow me a crow" (3.1.80). Instead of departing to get a crow-bar, the servant decides to pun on the word instead: "Crow without a feather; master, mean you so?/For a fish without a fin, there's a fowl without a feather;/ If a crow help us in, sirrah, we'll pluck a crow together" (81-84).
Through the pun on the "crow[bar]" (iron crow) and the "crow," Dromio of Ephesus elaborates on Dromio of Syracuse's figure of finless fish and featherless fowl. The action of breaking open the door is stalled by word-play that forces Antipholus of Epheseus to repeat his command: "Go, get thee gone, fetch me an iron crow" (Comedy of Errors 3.1.85). In his reference to the scene, Riehle assumes that Dromio brought the crowbar (151). If so, would Antipholus have to repeat the instructions? In any case, the transactional space that is created via the triangular conversation makes use of cultural models of appraisal. Stage productions and films may use a crow bar as a stage prop, but the scene is dominated by bird-feather imagery, suggesting fantasies of flight (and escape) contrasted with materiality of bodies: birds versus men. The violence of breaking open locked doors with crowbars, with associations of phallic masculinity demanding adherence to patriarchal imperatives, is not the argument here; nor is that kind of violence a part of this play. The woman whose orders blocked access to "all creatures" has agency, and the tardy husband ends up being thrown out of his home. A visual and narrative schism creates division between two groups of characters, while word play offers both a promise and a threat: a promise that eventually the doors will open for the rightful owner (though the play ends without treating the audience to a scene of domestic felicity), and a threat that such a thing may never happen.
The reference to fowls and fish recalls a conversation between Luciana and Adriana in Act 2. Scene 1. Significantly, this conversation presents a dialectic between the positions the two sisters hold on a woman's virtue. Luciana bases her argument on the patriarchal law of subordination of wife to husband: "The beasts, the fishes, and winged fowls/Are their male's subjects, and at their controls" (Comedy of Errors 2.1.18-19). Adriana rejects this view. To Luciana's "O, know that he is bridle of your will," Adriana answers: "There's none but asses will be bridled so" (13-14). Luciana's counter response rhymes "so" with "woe": "Why, headstrong liberty is lash'd with woe" (15). Clearly, she relies on Biblical authority that gives Adam and Eve preeminence over "fish of the sea" and "fowl of the air" (Foakes 1961; 2001, 20). In the domestic sphere, wife is to the husband what fish and fowl are to humans because man, as Luciana asserts, "is more divine" (20-23).
Dromio of Syracuse's later play on finless fish and featherless fowl is ambiguous. It may reinforce the idea of castration, cuckoldry and fratricide, discussed generally in psychoanalytic readings of doubles and twins in Shakespeare (Fineman 1980, 70). However, the stronger suggestion is that the pre-eminence of humans over fish and fowl, and by extension of men over women, is a universal of ideology, not of nature. Indeed, the figure is aligned more with Adriana's quarrelsome resistance than with Luciana's accommodating acquiescence. From a task-oriented, practical perspective, domestic chores involve women in ruthless acts of violence, such as rendering the fish finless and the fowl featherless. In doing this women accept the rights of humans to consume lower beings, perhaps tacitly accepting the idea of preeminence of the male. However, it is within the domestic sphere itself that a false analogical connection between cooking/eating habits and the universal claim of preeminence has to be countered: rendered finless and featherless. Dromio of Ephesus's transformation of the literal referent--an iron crow to a bird of feather that can be killed and skinned--threatens the temporary preeminence of the intruders as much as it delays the forceful use of an iron-crow to break open the door. In this way, a seemingly heimlich repossession of the home at a time when the visual discovery would have been unheimlich, is prevented. The discovery and recognition will finally occur in a public place, in front of figures of authority, representing the Law.
As far as the private space of the house is concerned, the accidental intruders see it as threatening. One of them wishes to be rescued from being drowned in "the flood of tears" (Comedy of Errors 3.2.46) of a wife who is not his wife; the other fears being transformed into a "curtal dog" by his "spherical" woman. He feels he is drowning in "Noah's Flood" of the sweat of her body (3.2.94-145). Their appraisal of being treated as family members by people they do not know leads to fear, while when they first entered the house, it was more like an adventure. In the earlier scene, Antipholus of Syracuse allows himself to think the Syracusan wife did "move [him] to [her] theme" (2.2.181). He accepts to be what he is not: "Until I know this sure uncertainty," he says "I'll entertain this [offer'd] fallacy" (2.2.185-86). After the satiation of an immediate physical need (for food), foregrounding the body, a fuller appraisal of the situation makes the fallacy falter, and along with his servant he chooses to escape this misprision.
Of course, one can have a sense of being at home, or not, in spaces larger than a house, such as a town. In his introduction to the Arden edition of the play, Foakes concurs with the perception that Antipholus of Syracuse starts out with a prejudice against the city. With the 'strange' encounters that we know are not strange, Foakes says "his belief that the city is a nest of sorcerers grows stronger" (2001, xlvi). In the context of an early modern prejudices against certain places, this is a reasonable assumption. Nevertheless, one might ask to what extent it is necessary to assume a pre-existing prejudice based on either local history, or the Biblical reference to Ephesus as a city of enchanters and sorcerers: a heathen nation. The play's language makes it clear that Antipholus's initial desire was "to lose himself" and "Wander up and down to view the city" (Comedy of Errors 1.2.30-31). He also speaks of fatigue and stiffness caused by long travel to justify his wanderings against the first merchant's cautionary injunctions. The appraisal of the city as being haunted by sorcerers begins after his encounter with the Dromio of Ephesus. It is based on something immediate, his failure to learn about what the latter did with his money, as he whines: "by some device or other/This villain is o'er-raught of all my money" (1.2.95-96). The appraisal that the money is lost gives rise to fear and disorientation, and the town appears full of "cozenage," filled with "nimble jugglers," and "dark-working sorcerers," as well as "soul-killing witches" and "prating mountebanks" (1.2.97-102). Transformation of the excited tourist into someone who is fearful and violent, of the cheerful local merchant into a distracted, furious prisoner, does not happen without immediate triggers provided by social judgments, mental assessments of their consequences, and attendant bodily responses.
The World According to Adriana: Appraising the Appraiser
But again neither Antipholus defines the crucial deictic consciousness of the play. That role is taken up by Adriana, whom we need to consider in more detail.
In his recent discussion of The Comedy of Errors in Will in the World, Steven Greenblatt draws attention to Adriana's speech in 2.2.119-29, where she wonders why and how her "husband" has become "estranged" from himself. Greenblatt points out that the "speech is too long and the pain too intense to be altogether absorbed in laughter" (2004, 130). Predictably, Greenblatt locates the source of this pain and intensity in the biographical subject, Shakespeare, to whom, it may seem, "the misery of the neglected and abandoned spouse was something he knew personally and too well" (130). A different view about how we can read a character is expressed by Mary Crane when she says: "The verbal formation of a character does not work in the same way as linguistic formations of subjects in a culture." The author, she maintains, "perceives himself as 'inside' his own body, while he perceives his characters as being shaped from the outside by the language he provides for them to speak" (2001, 41). However, the mental act of perceiving oneself inside one's body is an act of imagination, and one would think it transfers over to imagining characters inside their bodies. Authors have mental models of themselves as they have of their characters. It is in this sense that cognitive theorists consider imagination a significant part of cognitive architecture. With respect to Greenblatt's view, one cannot say with certainty what pain Shakespeare knew and what he did not. However, we can be more certain about a character as deixis of subjectivity to whom the pain of feelings and intentions can be attributed. If as readers/viewers we feel it, the pain need not be anyone else's but ours, either as mirroring of our own pain or processed though some combination of transactional sympathy.
Greenblatt's comment, even though like Coleridge he considers the play a farce, suggests that Adriana's emotions are such that they require to be understood by reference to something real in the word. From the perspective of appraisal theory of emotions and of cognitive poetics, Adriana emerges as the primary person-based deictic center in the play to whom a specifically goal-oriented intentionality can be attributed. That is, throughout the day she evaluates events, actions and persons in relation to specific goals. She is focused on maintaining the heimlichkeit of her home, not letting anyone, especially her husband, destroy it. The irony in her doing such a fine job of it herself is part of the play's comic effect. Other characters, though closely associated with her, are not as goal oriented in this particular sense. For instance, Luciana is uncertain about whether she wants to get married. In their conversation about women and gender roles, Adriana supposes it is the "Servitude" that Luciana endorses, "that makes [her] to keep unwed." Luciana's reply, "Not this, but troubles of the marriage bed," is indicative of a goal conflict (Comedy of Errors 2.1. 26-27). Her attitudinal posture is of waiting. The linked-rhyming of "unwed" with "bed" is indicative of a goal which is not introspectively accessible, hence, not available for an evaluation conducive for an action outcome.
Similarly, Egeon's self fashioning utterance--"Hopeless and helpless doth Egeon wend/But to procrastinate his lifeless end" (Comedy of Errors 1.1.156-57)--fixes him in this posture. We know that he is looking for his long lost family. However, in this search he has reached an impasse. In his own words, he has spent "five summers" "in farthest Greece," "Roaming clean through the bounds of Asia," and "coasting homeward came to Ephesus" (1.1. 132-34). In Ephesus, the debt and arrest have rendered the objects of his search "hopeless to find," though "loath to leave unsought" (135). A world traveler, the wandering magus figure, like Prospero or Pericles, modeled on Gower's Appolonius of Tyre, Egeon is encoded primarily within a schema of the junctural emotion of a hapless, hopeless woe. Junctural emotion is almost always linked to abandoned goals, or goals inaccessible to introspection and hence unavailable for appraisal. In different ways, as will be shown below, the Antipholus of Syracuse is also a waiting, wandering figure associated with the narrative prototype (5) of the errare: the erring wanderer's narrative. St. Paul's advice to the people of Ephesus to "not live the aimless life that pagans live" (334) might bear an ironic connection to the Jacobean magus prototype, the man who inspires an awe (and some suspicion) because he has gained wisdom through travel. Adriana, on the contrary, is defined in terms of the driven goal directedness of an early modern wife, not merely the Matrona of Amphitruo or the shrewish uxor dotata (wife who has inherited money from her father) of Menaechmi.
In keeping with her genesis in the early modern world of Shakespeare's experience and observation, Adriana's initial insistence, her humor or her passion, that drives Dromio to the mart to drag home to have dinner anyone on the street who looks like her husband, sets into motion the mistaken identity plot as well as the adultery scenario. Throughout the day, Adriana's goal is frustrated at every step and her plans alter in response to appraisals. Her specific goal is, no doubt, a short term one but it is linked to the long term goal of a happy married life. The core relational theme linked to the emotion of happiness, derived from Lazarus's early conceptual model, is "making reasonable progress towards the realization of a goal" (Power 1997, 90). Since the temporality of the play is recursive, Adriana does not make much progress towards her goal. Yet, she does not give up either. In the final scenes, she is on the streets wanting to take her husband home, even if it means he has to be bound and confined. As happens in this case, the abstract, schematic nature of a given core relational theme measures goal fulfillment in relation to degrees of satisfaction and frustration.
In general, appraisal schemas that trigger emotions cannot be elaborate like sermons or philosophical exegesis; they have to be coded signals of some sort. From the perspective of Freud's lexical research on the term heimlich, one can say Adriana wants "enjoyment of quiet content, etc., arousing a sense of peaceful pleasure and security as in one within the four walls of his house" (1919, 126). It is interesting that the pronoun reference in the passage is masculine and Freud recalls a parallel instance of usage associated with women's roles: "A careful housewife, who knows how to make a pleasing Heimlichkeit (Hauslichkeit)" (126). In other words, it is assumed insistently that a wife is the maker and the provider of domestic happiness to the husband. In contrast, Shakespeare's Adriana wants to make her husband provide this amenity, this happiness to her, and by definition to them both.
In contrast to Adriana, the junctural nature of the emotions of the others is noteworthy. For instance, Antipholus of Syracuse says he is in Ephesus to search for his brother and mother. However, at no point in the play does he evaluate the events and situations in relation to the fulfillment or non-fulfillment of this goal. If he had, he might have realized that he has been mistaken for his twin brother. His non-realization of this fact is not due to implausibility of representation, or the farcical nature of the play, but is indicative of a deeper insight into his mind state. He is looking for his brother and mother in a tentative manner, because he has partially given up on this project. In other words, he has had this goal for a long time. In his search, he has reached the third stage of secondary appraisal and has decided that there is no expectation of fulfilling this goal. The leftover emotions resulting from his semi-abandonment of a project are not actional in the same way as Adriana's are. His reference to himself as a "drop of water/That in the ocean seeks another drop" (Comedy of Errors 1.2.35-36) evidences an appraisal of impossibility, hence, of hopelessness, not hope. After he sends away his man to the Centaur, his immediate plan is to spend the hour "viewing the manners of the town/ Peruse the traders, gaze upon the buildings" (1.2.12-13). Even though this twin is not an Ephesian, St. Paul would still have considered his disposition pagan.
Edward Reynolds considers "wise confidence, of a happy mixture of boldness, constancy and prudence," as causes of hope and he attributes many of the prerequisites for hope to Alexander (1640, 252). Reynolds's theoretical claim is that an emotion, in this case hope, is caused by character-based virtue. Seeing character-based virtue as cause of goal-oriented emotions is a divergent feature of early modern theories of emotion. However, the self-evaluations of the dramatic characters converge more fully with modern theories. Antipholus of Syracuse does not say he lacks the virtue of Alexander his evaluation of a goal and abandonment of it are better explained in terms of modern theories. It is relevant in this context that Adriana, using the same water-drop metaphor for companionate relationships, says to him: "For know, my love, as easy as mayst thou fall/A drop of water in the breaking gulf, /And take unmingled thence that drop again/Without adding or diminishing, /As take from me thyself, and not me too" (Comedy of Errors 2.2.125-29). Adriana's figurative reference may have prompted Antipholus to pursue the only available female in the house. In other words, the suggestion might have helped him to form a new goal, but he made no association, registered no signifying clue as to his search for a twin brother.
As a comfortably settled citizen, Antipholus of Ephesus has a life outside the house and between him and his wife there is a problem of goal incongruence. Shakespeare has made minimal use of the Menaechmi idea of the husband running from a shrewish wife, who has no name, to a courtesan, who has a name and an identity. In Shakespeare's play, the wife has a name and the courtesan has none. When Antipholus approaches his home belatedly, he cautions his friends that his wife is shrewish when he "keeps not hours" (Comedy of Errors 3.1.2). However, like his prototype in Menaechmi, he is not disdainful towards his wife's shrewish-ness. He admits there is reason for it, his lateness. He asks Angelo to "Say that I linger'd with you at your shop/To see the making of her carcanet (3.1.3-4). In the rest of the play, as we have seen, the reversal of fortune gets him locked out of his house, bound and locked up in jail. For all this, at no point does he make a manifest goal oriented determination or appraisal. In contrast, the Dromios, like Adriana, have immediate task-oriented goals and the emotions they experience result from their evaluation of events in relation to these "micro goals."
Going Home: Deictic Sub-Worlds and Thematization of Emotion
In addition to person deixis, on which we have been focusing, situational coordinates of place and time--collectively, narrative worlds or subworlds--figure crucially in the play's misapprehensions as well. These misapprehensions give rise, not simply to mirth, as one might initially expect of a comedy, but to a range of propositional and non-propositional emotion signals. The Oatley and Johnson model of appraisal uses this distinction between a mechanism that is "evolutionally older" and the propositional mechanism that is "more symbolic and has internal structure" (Power 1997, 93). In general, the propositional mechanism is more important for literary study. However, stage action thrives on the other mechanism as well. In this light, the characters running away from danger follow non-propositional emotion signals and their actions can be played out on stage in the form of physical comedy. Nonetheless, the propositional appraisals remain more significant. In this context, the Heimlichkeit of Adriana's home with its table spread, coffers of money to bail people out of jails, with servants coming to and departing from there, pig falling into the pit and capon burning, doors being locked and opened--whether the staged house is connotatively flat, Plautine or early modern, as critics continue to quibble over this issue--constitutes one of the three significant spatial domains in the play and is associated with propositional appraisals, while the streets and even the Abbey give rise to both types of appraisal. As the errors grow exponentially, the main protagonists become invested in the short-term goal of getting into and getting out not only of houses, but also jails and religious detention centers. The dramaturgical logic of the play is linked to core relational themes of emotions such as anger, shame, sadness, and anxiety (as well as jealousy, which we have already treated, and envy, fear, and hope, to which we will turn in the next section). The appraisal schemas used here are drawn from the conceptual analyses of emotions by Lazarus and others (Power 1997, 90-103).
Following Stockwell's distinction between the text-worlds and deictic sub-worlds in literary texts (2002, 47-55), one may see that in The Comedy of Errors the action moves away from the text-world to the sub-world. In short, the text-world in this play is what the frame story is, the separated family and its members' search for each other. Within this larger, mostly latent text-world, the sub-world is like an embedded mental model, some sort of play within the play. As pointed out above, the text-world is structured by deixis linked to the core relational theme of sadness, which is a variant of having experienced an irrevocable loss (90). Because of the separation of the two worlds, through the operations of knowledge discrepancy, the loss is appraised as irrevocable, though it is not so. The streets of Ephesus are haunted by the split-off shadows of Egeon's twins, while his wife is enshrined in the Priory. The world is safe, yet it is filled with danger, sane yet susceptible to periodic contagions of madness. The first situational coordinate of the text world locates the "doom of death" Egeon faces in Ephesus and the last coordinate situates the reunion suggested by "after so much grief, such nativity," or "felicity." Surprisingly, Shakespeare's phrases sound much like core relational themes for sadness and happiness.
More importantly, Egeon's narrative instantiates the social-legal function of stories, and emotion prototypes associated with them, in keeping with Richard A. Shweder's definition of emotions as abstract categories through which "people everywhere in the world give meaning and shape to their somatic and affective experiences" (Ekman 1994, 32). Shweder further maintains that emotion terms are "particular interpretive schemas (e.g. 'remorse,' 'guilt,' 'anger,' 'shame') of a particular story-like, script like, or narrative kind that any people in the world might make use of" in this way (32). This is nowhere better shown than in the beginning of the play. The Duke's official anger, Egeon's trespassing and the latter's sadness and despair result from propositional appraisals that function as socially interpretative schemas. The Duke's ears are at first fortified against Egeon's pleas; he orders him to "plead no more" because by law he is condemned to die (Comedy of Errors 1.1.25). Against his better judgment, the Duke allows Egeon to tell the cause of his coming to Ephesus "in brief." Sixty-eight lines into the account, the Duke eagerly asks for more: "Nay forward, old man, do not break off so" (96-97). The Duke of Ephesus is drawn into this textual world and offers reprieve for that day: "Therefore, merchant, I'll limit thee this day" (150). Consistent with the change in emotion and action outcome, the deictic address changes from "Merchant of Syracusa" to "old man" and "merchant." At the end, the scene of shipwreck, survival, and dispersion becomes synchronous with the final reunion scene, but it remains asynchronous with what happens in the deictic sub-world of the play where the immediate referential context is not of the quest, nor of wandering, but of characters stumbling upon phantoms of each other and themselves: where things are not as they ought to be.
It is clear that the sub-world is primarily shaped by deixis bound up with anger, the core relational theme for which, according Richard Lazarus's typology is "a demeaning offense against me and mine" (Power 1997, 90) or as Nico Frijda might see it: a challenge to what ought to happen. In this case, the emphasis is more on me, than mine. Adriana sees her husband's lateness as an offense to her, and as a challenge to what ought to happen in her life and her home. The sub-world is constituted further by anxiety, for which the appraisal schema is: facing uncertain, existential threat (90). References to sorcery, witchcraft, ghosts, and other kinds of cozenage evidence operations of this appraisal schema. There is also fright, as more of a non-propositional appraisal, the core value of which is: facing an immediate, concrete and overwhelming physical danger (90). Dromio of Syracuse and Antipholus of Syracuse figure prominently in the anxiety and fear schema, some examples of which have been discussed above.
Antipholus of Ephesus speaks of his distress in terms of shame. For instance, he concludes in his very long appeal to the Duke with reference to shame. Specifically, he demands to be given "ample satisfaction/For these deep shames and great indignities" (Comedy of Errors 5.1.254-55). He says he was left "bound together" with his servant and admits, as if to cleanse himself of the shame, that he gained his freedom only because he was able "with [his] teeth [his] bonds to sunder" (250). In a confrontation with his wife when his anger is at its peak, he says: "But with these nails I'll pluck out these false eyes/That would behold in me this shameful sport" (4.4.103-04). Anger serves well to give him an interpretive schema with which he can assess his wife's behavior. He believes his wife has done all this to him "To make a loathsome abject scorn of [him]" (101). His sense of shame and abjection is, in fact, overwhelming in these scenes. The core relational theme identified for shame is having failed to live up to an ego ideal (Power 1997, 90). Even though the ego ideal motif is not explicitly developed in the play, the general absence of family role models makes his shame, generated by identity confusion, concomitant with this specific determination of a relational theme. The greatest indignity in his long catalogue is having been submitted to the cures of Dr. Pinch, whom he describes as "A mere anatomy, a mountebank,/ A thread bare juggler and a fortune teller" (5.1.239-40): "living dead man" (242). In other words, Dr. Pinch presents an antithesis of the ego ideal. His wife, we recall, had addressed this man as the "good doctor."
In contrast with the text-world, in the sub-world, pronoun references and references to actions and locations are seriously misattributed, but such misattributions make internal sense. Internally, the core relational themes serve as emotion-guiding schemas that are generated by disturbed sense perception. Judgments regarding emotion and action outcomes are made within frames of reference where emotion scripts, action responsibilities, expectations, accountabilities have become interchangeable. The first confusion in deictic reference occurs when Antipholus of Syracuse has introduced the sadness theme, in lines referred to above in another context, where he speaks of himself a "drop of water" seeking "another drop" (Comedy of Errors 1.2.35-40). A marked shift in emotion is communicated by the welcome that follows: "Here is the almanac of my true date/What now? How chance thou art returned so soon" (41-43). At a turning point, this meeting inverts anagnorisis by setting up an oppositional parallel. The process that will unite Antipholus with his twin brother has begun, because the object of his sight is his brother's servant, though this person is not who he takes him to be: his own servant. With regard to immediate goals and tasks, this encounter is ill fated. However, the recognition of similarity in age stabilizes a constant from the text-world; the twin Dromios and the Antipholi were born on the same day. This is the first suggestive link to the nativity-based emotion theme with which the play will end.
At this point, a person-based deictic ambiguity, caused by the confusion in person reference, is conjoined with ambiguity in the use of situational coordinates of time: "Return'd so soon! Rather approach'd too late" (Comedy of Errors 1.2.43). Our interpretations of soon and late are context bound, as are our judgments about returning and approaching. If this person is Dromio of Syracuse, he has returned too impossibly soon, and if the person he met is Antipholus of Ephesus (he is not), the latter has no right to complain; he has kept a dinner waiting. However, the person encountered here is not the right "he" or "you," but a shadow you and shadow he. Further, just as the relational referents involve a consistent factor (of age) and an inconsistent factor (of personhood), the time reference also involves a constant: "The clock hath strucken twelve upon the bell" (45). Concepts of late and soon have saliency in social time, due to expectations and exigencies of daily life; chronometric time remains the same and provides a background for recursions. Later in the play, Dromio of Syracuse tells Antipholus of Syracuse that an hour ago he brought him news of the "bark Expedition" leaving forth that night; clearly, this is essential information that has miscarried. Antipholus' recognition that it is no longer possible to talk to Dromio about anything sensible, leads him to conclude: "This fellow is distract, and so am I, /Here we wander in illusions--/Some blessed power deliver us from hence!" (4.3. 40-42). Having exhausted his ability to entertain offered fallacies, Antipholus is now resigned and hope hinges on providential deliverance.
Another oppositional parallel is established in Act 2. Scene 1. There, Dromio of Ephesus's reported encounter with Antipholus of Syracuse leads to the appraisal that Antipholus of Ephesus has gone "Horn-mad," though "not cuckold-mad," but "stark-mad" (Comedy of Errors 2.1.60-70). Dromio comes to this conclusion for the same reason. He found it hard to have a sensible conversation with Antipholus, who, in Dromio's deictic world, failed to corroborate basic information about dinner, wife, home, and so forth. An anxiety schema of uncertain expectation is activated at this point. Adriana's progress towards goal fulfillment is seriously threatened. This inexplicable "madness" of the master makes it impossible for the servant to fulfill his charge to "fetch [him] from the mart/Home to [his] house, Phoenix, to dinner" (1.2.74-75). In the indirect reporting of the "quoth I" and "quoth he" sequence, once again a stable entity, Dromio of Ephesus, is the consistent referent for "I," but the subject referents for "he" and "you" are not the intended persons. In this way, we see questions about "Tis dinner-time," "Will you come," "The pig is burn'd" answered by a series of counter questions: "My gold," "My gold," "Where is the thousand marks I gave thee, villain" (70). The suggestion of the charge of bringing a husband home and not having fulfilled another charge, the "so great a charge" of money entrusted to him, is construed as a serious charge of breach of trust: a punishable offense (61). The insistence on gold and money may indicate Antipholus of Syracuse's mercantile goals, as critics have pointed out. However, gold is the immediate reference point for a conversation between the Syracusan master and servant, and dinner for the other pair. Through this reiteration, "money" and "dinner" emerge as metonyms for goals, since they refer not only to concrete objects, but to points of lost reference.
As the inquisition about the thousand marks continues (confusing for the reader as well, because Shakespeare changes currencies from scene to scene), Antipholus warns that "jests are out of season" (Comedy of Errors 1.2.68). The mention of "wife" and "mistress" brings forth an emphatic statement: "I know not thy mistress, out on thy mistress," and upon further prodding: "I know no house, no wife, no mistress" (2.1.69-71). This is, no doubt, Dromio's translation, his spiced up version. What was actually said, "wilt thou flout me thus unto my face" (1.2.91), more exactly illustrates a core relational theme of anger (demeaning offense against the self or a challenge to what ought to be). Dromio's translation changes it somewhat. Predictably, Adriana's hurt and pain follow since she is a wife, who "fasts till" her husband "comes home to dinner" (89). The conversation, as it is reported by Dromio, is enough to make her think that her husband has become estranged from himself and from her. From a cognitive perspective, the fast proliferation of perceptual illusion in the deictic sub-world is not illusion, but appraisal in terms of relational themes that causes anxiety, anger, and their action outcomes. Each of the situations in the deictic sub-world serves as an exemplum for a larger schema associated with cognitive appraisal and emotion-action outcome. Social interaction-based coordinates of time that can make or mar relations are conflated with concrete objects of exchange between men, objects which can be bought and sold for a price, which circulate continually, such as food, money, gold chains, diamond rings.
From the Home to the Streets, and Back Again: Staging Sub-Worlds and Models of Feeling
With such a proliferation of almost solipsistic deictic sub-worlds, the ways in which they come together and split apart become crucial for the misrecognitions and associated appraisals that drive the play. On stage, this joining and separating occurs most obviously in the literal comings and goings of the characters. Thus the deictic fields formed by exits and entrances, which everywhere in Shakespeare are of particular consequence, become even more charged in this play. (No wonder, therefore, that fixing up entrances and exits has been a concern for textual scholars of the play.)
The first exit and entry sequence marks Antipholus of Ephesus's movement away from his house, his delay, paralleled with Antipholus of Syracuse's approach towards the mart and the house. The second movement marks Antipholus of Ephesus reaching his house and being locked out. This gives rise to the appraisal schema of resenting a third party for loss or threat to something that is bound up with one's personal identity and what one possesses. Antipholus's intention to break open the door to his house with an iron crow, as mentioned above, evidences jealousy and a defensive anger, that is, a masking of pain. At this point, there is a deictic shift from the interior of the house to the street, and the good citizen of Ephesus is advised by the merchant not to make a scene in order to protect the "unviolated honor of [his] wife" (Comedy of Errors 3.1.88). In other words, an appraisal bearing on social shame alters the emotion and its action outcome. The humiliated husband takes recourse to a more convenient emotion of petty spitefulness, "Be it nothing but to spite my wife" (118), and agrees to "depart in peace" to have dinner with and bestow the gold chain to the "wench of excellent discourse" (119-20) who is "wild," and yet "gentle."
We obviously cannot discuss every entrance and exit in the play, but a few others are particularly noteworthy. Act 4, scene 3 begins with the initial entrance of the arrested Antipholus and the officer. In an uncanny manner, this image mirrors his father's arrest in the frame plot. The citizen son and the non-citizen father end up in chains. The first entrance is then followed by the entrance of Dromio of Epheseus with the rope, not the five hundred ducats of bail money, as was expected. Inevitably, anger is elicited and it leads to his beating of the servant. The anger, however, is not caused by non-propositional emotion signals, but is to be seen in the context of the times, what a master is entitled to do when there is a challenge to what things ought to be. Hence, the beaten body of the servant and the emotionalized subjectivity of the wife foreground embodied emotion in a specific cultural context.
As this suggests, entrances and exits are not simply appearances of characters on stage. They are part of trajectories, defined relative to specific locations--particularly locations bound up with a mental model of being-at-home (in deictic space). A theme and variation in patterns of approach to and flight from Phoenix would link the accidental entry of the Syracusan master and servant to the core relational theme for envy: wanting to receive what someone else has been given. In the context of Freud's inquiry, this incident provides a dramaturgical replication of "stealing away heimlich" (1951, 128). Antipholus of Syracuse does enjoy the house and its amenities, as the formidable Dromio guards the door and the Ephesians are driven out. In the beginning, as we may recall, the Syracusans were advised to conceal their national identity. In the lockout scene, the Matrona and her household take part in an involuntary defiance of the vindictive laws of Ephesus by providing a sanctuary to the Syracusans. However, this sanctuary is a dubious one. It may save their bodies, but it erases their identities. When in the end they take flight, Antipholus says: "If everyone knows us, and we know none,/'Tis time, I think, to trudge, pack, and be gone" (Comedy of Errors 3.2.150-51). Such a construal, again, suggests facing uncertain, existential threat (an anxiety theme). Dromio says "As from a bear a man would run for his life,/So fly I from her that would be my wife (153-54). In consonance with the problematic nature of this utterance from the perspective of gender stereotyping and prejudice against fat people, it suggests immediate physical danger leading to fear, though a comical version of it. Dromio's fear contrasts with hope when at a later point he says: "Methinks they are such a gentle nation, that but for the mountain of mad flesh that claims marriage of me, I could find in my heart to stay here and turn witch" (4.4.151-54).
The relational theme related to hope, fearing the worst but yearning for better, more consistently encodes Adriana's character. Her dialogue with her sister at home was directed towards obtaining such an outcome. In the streets, she encounters something close to, if not exactly, comic horror. More specifically, she faces her husband's anger at the offences he thinks she has done him and cries out "O bind him, bind him, let him not come near me" (Comedy of Errors 4.4.104). Yet, when the officer demands payment of his debt, she says: "I will discharge thee ere I go from thee;/ Bear me forthwith unto his creditor,/ And knowing how the debt grows, I will pay it." (117-18). Not only is she willing to pay off the debt, she wants her husband "safe convey'd/Home to [her] house" (119-120). Her contrariness is due to contrary emotions. The house and home serve as mental models for safety and happiness; the streets present obstacles. Her repetition of home and house echoes the conflation of Heimlichkeit (Hauslichkeit in connection with the uncanny. Her own actional emotion is inflected by deictic ambiguity about personhood, as she makes demands, offers help, promises to pay debts, cure pathologies, or makes decisions for whichever twin is at a given moment in the line of her vision. The discrepancies in Adriana's thematization of her emotional experience and what emotions her conduct elicits in others, contribute significantly to the comic-serious effects of the play.
In this context, it is relevant to note that a different, more oblique reference to return (to home) occurs when Dromio of Syracuse hands the bail money to Antipholus of Syracuse (which Antipholus of Ephesus needs). In his loquaciousness, he refers to the officer as the "Adam," not the "Adam of paradise," but the one who wears the "calve's skin that was killed for the Prodigal" (Comedy of Errors 4.3.16-21). On this occasion, the conversation between these two gets stuck on the literal referent 'gold' and the figurative "Adam." Antipholus's demand for an explanation, "What gold is this? What Adam dost thou mean?" (13-15), gives Dromio the opportunity to extend the analogical reference. His parody of the parable re-contextualizes the present in terms of the cultural past, suggesting hope. In addition, the inter-textual deixis of the prodigal's return further privileges the house. Retrospectively, the feast in Adriana's house can be seen as the feast prepared for the wandering son who returned. At the same time, the city streets where the Syracusans are by turns welcomed, shown "kindnesses," and then accused and chased, trigger a contrary appraisal leading to anxiety: "Sure these are but imaginary wiles/ And Lapland sorcerers inhabit here" (10-11). Once more, these lines register a cognition of uncertain, existential threat.
At the other end, the full flowering of Antipholus of Epheseus's jealousy takes more than being locked out; it is triggered by the failure of this "gold," the bail money to show up where it is required. A stronger form of the cognitive schema of resenting someone else for loss or threat is a precursor to this emotion episode. Though in one "reality," or within the domain of one mental model, his stranger/brother has not taken his place, does not intend to take his money and does not threaten him, in another imagined "reality" that is what is happening. Consequently, Antipholus of Ephesus calls his wife a "dissembling harlot," and "a most unhappy strumpet" (Comedy of Errors 4.4.100). The Abbess chastises Adriana for being chronically jealous, hence mad: "And thereof came it that the man was mad/The venom clamors of a jealous wife/Poisons more deadly than a mad dog's tooth" (5.1. 67-70). The Abbess uses unfair means to make Adriana admit that she "reprehended" her husband roughly for "unlawful love" (50-65). That, once again, does not mean Adriana is justifiably jealous. The metaphors of contagion and poison she uses in discussing her husband with her sister (and "brother-in-law") are indicative of the relational theme of jealousy: resenting a third party for loss or threat to another's affection. Adriana's image for "the third party" is "usurping ivy, brier, or idle moss" that requires "pruning" (2.2. 174-79). Later, the courtesan's anxiety about the ring that Adriana's husband "borrowed"--her stronger accusation that Antipholus rushed into her home and took her ring by force (4.3.91-92)--has a neutralizing effect on Adriana's jealousy. In his discourse on the semiotics of passions, Greimas points out that the jealous person suffers from "seeing another person enjoy something" or "he is afraid of losing something" (1993, 127). In light of the Greimasian insight, Adriana's encounter with the courtesan figures as a significant point of reversal and recognition. As an antithesis to old jealousy, a new solidarity between these two women is formed. Later, when it is time to appeal to the Duke against the Abbess, who has shut the gates on them, Adriana corroborates the Courtesan's account to say that her husband "did displeasure on the citizens," "by rushing into their houses, bearing thence/Rings, jewels, anything his rage did like" (5.1.140-45). This is in part an insanity plea on his behalf and Adriana insistently asks for her husband to be "brought forth, and borne hence for help" (155-60).
For an appraisal-based reading of the emotion aesthetics of the play, it is extremely significant to note that Antiphobus's rage is purged, not by drugs, prayers and conjuring, but by a change from distress to relief triggered by the re-cognition that a goal-congruent condition has changed for the better. In the middle of the play, being freed from captivity and from charges of theft and unpaid debts, in addition to re-establishing his identity, became urgent goals for Antipholus. At this time Adriana's comment, "I see two husbands, or mine eyes deceive me" (Comedy of Errors 5.1.331) combined with her question--"Which of you two did dine with me today?" (369)--reestablishes her honor and his trust. More importantly, Adriana's question adds to suggestions evoked by the allusions to the story of the prodigal son's return. The mistress of Phoenix is substituted for the father in the original story. Her next question, "Are you not my husband" (370), receives an answer that makes person references socially and psychologically discrete. Unknowingly, she has honored her husband's long lost brother. Perhaps she can take pride in this: a relational theme for pride is enhancement of one's ego identity by taking credit for valued achievement. A cross-culturally respected tradition of hospitality to strangers, to returning exiles and those who have, for other reasons, wandered away from home has been followed. At the same time, a valid epistemic judgment about the body and face of Adriana's husband is possible only when the deictic field of the stage and the gaze contains every speaker synchronously. Even so, the teasing ambiguities remain.
Schlegel's 19th century defense of The Comedy of Errors on the basis of how the play introduces novelty and engages the interest of the viewer, even when the plot grows entirely out of perplexities caused by sight, gains further support in the context of the play's elicitation and thematization of emotion. The anger, fear, anxiety, jealousy themes generate novelty and maintain the viewer's interest in the characters as deictic subjects, while the perplexities of their situation give rise to laughter and amusement. The potentialities of the characters as subjects remain outside of dramaturgical time, as, in fact, they always do. Like Pirandello's characters in Six Characters in Search of an Author, Shakespeare's characters in The Comedy of Errors are exemplars for what a character is. Each of them could, if they wished, generate materials for another play on the basis of the stories they carry within: their burdens, hopes, fears and disappointments. They may embody humors, but none is a type of a humor, or merely a type derived from Roman Comedy or Medieval Drama. Each is individualized in terms of his/her speech patterns, beliefs, habits, ways of justifying actions, blaming others, solving problems. Each has his/her obsessions and preoccupations that transcend the play's temporality. More importantly, each is defined by the emotion and appraisal schemas constituted in the play. Shakespeare's cognitive dramaturgy is grounded in the early modern view of humors and passions (of the soul). In part because of this grounding, but in part despite it, Shakespeare anticipates the psychology and aesthetics of thought, affect and action as they have been developed recently in cognitive accounts of emotion and appraisal.
(1) A shorter version of this essay under a different title, "When Fowls have no Feathers and Fish have no Fin: Cognitive Dramaturgy in The Comedy of Errors," was presented at the Annual Meeting of the Shakespeare Association of America, March 19, 2005, Bermuda.
(2) Parkinson, S.A.R Manstead (1992 123-24, 140); Ekman and Davidson (1994, 155-157; on appraisal, 182; on cognitive structure, 186; on goals and appraisals, 187-88); Frijda (1986, 195-97; on lists of primary emotions along with negative and positive valences, 216-17). Fridja in Clark (1992 on inter-emotion comparisons of intensity, 80-81). Power and Dalgleish (1997 Lazarus on emotions and core relational themes, 909-91); Hogan (2003 on three components of cognitive architecture: structures, processes and contents, 30).
(3) In light of the extended preoccupation with passion, either of the face, body, soul or the mind, the cognitively oriented neo-historicist terms like geo-humoralism and humoral subjectivity, as Gail Kern Paster and others use them, insist that early modern notions of subjectivity is strongly grounded in an anti-stoic metaphysics that challenges the supremacy of reason as an abstraction separable from the material body, along with the associated idea of embodied emotion (Paster 2004, 115-29; Strier 2004, 23-42).
(4) He draws on etymology and devotes several pages to the word's history of usage, configurations of semantic fields associated with, "Heimlich as belonging to the home, not strange, familiar, intimate, comfortable, homely" (1919, 125). Pursuing the thought further, Freud quotes Schelling to sum up the meaning of the opposite term, unheimlich as "the name for everything that ought to have remained ... hidden and secret and has become visible" (129).
(5) The term, prototype, refers to the most characteristic instance of something, whereby other instances may not be identical to the central example, but continuous with it. For instance, Paul Ekman identifies prototypical emotion faces to provide a profile of basic emotions. Particular instances of these emotion faces may not be exactly like the prototypical anger face, of fear face, but something about the nature of that emotion that is constant is communicated by the prototypical face. The variant terms used for schema are cognitive models, scripts, scenarios. However, these terms refer to different cognitive phenomena; the common element is a reference to cognitive structures related either to evolutionally coded (hard wired) basic emotions and associated appraisals, or culturally inflected propositional appraisals associated with a complex of other emotions. In the context of literary criticism, these terms refer to emotion scripts and structures as they are encoded in the symbolic languages of art, literature and theater.
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Lalita Pandit is a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. She was guest co-editor and contributing author of a special issue of College Literature (1996); her most recent published work includes the co-edited and co-authored book, Rabindranath Tagore: Universality and Tradition (2003).
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|Date:||Jan 1, 2006|
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