The Comedy of Errors

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Aemilia Character Analysis

The long-lost wife of Aegeon and mother of the Antipholus twins. After being separated from Antipholus of Ephesus, she became an abbess. Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse seek sanctuary in her abbey, and she brings them to the Duke at the end of the play to clear up everyone’s confusion.

Aemilia Quotes in The Comedy of Errors

The The Comedy of Errors quotes below are all either spoken by Aemilia or refer to Aemilia. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Commerce and Exchange Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Simon & Schuster edition of The Comedy of Errors published in 2005.
Act 5, Scene 1 Quotes

Hath not else his eye
Stray’d his affection in unlawful love?
A sin prevailing much in youthful men,
Who give their eyes the liberty of gazing.
Which of these sorrows is he subject to?

To none of these, except it be the last;
Namely, some love that drew him oft from home.

You should for that have reprehended him.

Why, so I did.

Ay, but not rough enough.

As roughly as my modesty would let me.

Haply, in private.

And in assemblies too.
The consequence is, then, thy jealous fits
Have scared thy husband from the use of wits.

Related Characters: Adriana (speaker), Aemilia (speaker)
Page Number: 5.1.50-89
Explanation and Analysis:

After Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse run into the abbey, the Abbess comes out to investigate. Here the Abbess (soon revealed to be Aemilia, Aegeon's wife) asks Adriana what is wrong with Antipholus. Before the quote begins, she asks if he has lost wealth or experienced the death of a friend, before asking if he has been unfaithful and "strayed his affection in unlawful love." Returning to the question of a married man's liberty, the Abbess remarks on the common sin of young men giving their eyes the liberty to gaze too much at other women. When Adriana admits that she believes Antipholus has been unfaithful, the Abbess says that Adriana should have scolded him more. When Adriana reveals through quick back and forth (they complete each other's lines of iambic pentameter) that she did reprehend her husband, and often, the Abbess ultimately decides that her jealous nagging was the cause of her husband's infidelity. Note here the play's continued placement of the subservient class (servants and, in this case, women) into the scapegoat role. As a man, Antipholus is supposedly master of nature, women, and his servants, but at the same time, the blame for his own actions and (presumed) infidelity falls on his wife, not himself. Ultimately, the Abbess refuses to let anyone into the abbey, saying that she will bring Antipholus and Dromio back from madness.


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Aemilia Character Timeline in The Comedy of Errors

The timeline below shows where the character Aemilia appears in The Comedy of Errors. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 5, Scene 1
Appearances and Identity Theme Icon
Mistakes and Coincidences Theme Icon
...Dromio of Syracuse recognize Aegeon. The abbess calls Aegeon her husband and identifies herself as Aemilia, his long lost wife. She explains that after the shipwreck, Corinthian fishermen took Antipholus and... (full context)
Commerce and Exchange Theme Icon
Marriage and Family Theme Icon
...he will simply pardon Aegeon. Antipholus of Ephesus returns the courtesan’s diamond ring to her. Aemilia suggests that everyone goes into the priory so they can “hear at large discoursed all... (full context)