Comedy and tragedy would not seem to mix well, as they have opposite conclusions of happiness or sadness. To have comic and tragic plots within one play, then, can be argued as being too distinct to be coherent. In The Insatiate Countess, however, it is the differences between the tragic plot of the countess, Isabella, and the comic plot of Abigail and Thais, that strengthen the play’s message supporting loyalty in friendship.
Written by John Marston, Lewis Machin and William Barksted, The Insatiate Countess’ differing plots might be attributed to the presence of multiple authors. Critic Giorgio Melchiori states the play is based on Marston’s draft, while “Barksted’s hand is more apparent in the tragic scenes, Machin’s in the comic” (16).…show more content…
/ Hast thou no feeling of thyself and me?” (4.2.41, 47-49). Realizing his friendship is better than the hate felt by his lover, Gniaca pledges to Rogero, “I have a soul / That blushes red for tending bloody facts. / Forgive me, friend, if I can be forgiven (4.2.84-86). Thus, this friendship, in someone beyond one’s lover, is prized above even romantic love, which can steal one’s rationality. Since she is not grounded by friendship, Isabella is too passionate and becomes too hateful; it is this bond between Gniaca and Rogero that allows them to see more clearly, and thereby avoid wrongful death.
Fortunately for Claridiana and Mizaldus, their insatiate hatred is tempered by the loyalty between Abigail and Thais. Despite their husbands’ attempts to cuckold each other, Abigail and Thais cleverly switch places, such that the men are sleeping with their own wives (3.3). Still, they think they have cuckolded, and likewise have been cuckolded; and so rather than live with the shame, they clamor to be executed for the murder of Mendosa, a crime which neither committed (3.9-4.1). Thais and Abigail therefore save their husbands both from being cuckolds and from the more extreme judgment of death, a fate they were stupidly willing to suffer to avoid that special shame they supposed fell upon them. In this, being both unsuccessful at adultery and endlessly foolish, the men are, in their ways, insatiate. While this would be