The dominant rhythm of Shakespearian comedy has been quite admirably described by Northrop Frye in A Natural Perspective. Though there is no such thing as a 'typical' Shakespearian comedy, it is clear that in a great many plays the action is in three stages: separation, bewilderment, harmony. Separation, isolation, pain are the condition in which the plays begin; union and happiness are the goals; the characters of comedy are moved from the first stage to the third by means of a period of purgatorial confusion.